Elton John has been an AIDS advocate for almost 30 years. The 73-year-old singer’s journey to being a vocal activist in the fight against the AIDS virus began in 1985 when he read an article about Ryan White’s own struggle with not only the virus but also the stigma it created for White and his family. Moved by White’s story, John contacted the Whites and personally invited the family to one of his concerts. It was in this simple act of kindness that John formed a friendship with White which lasted until 1990 when White died.
It was that friendship that helped John achieve sobriety and become a leading voice in the fight against AIDS. In 1992, John formed the Elton John AIDS Foundation. On the foundation’s website, it states:
The Foundation’s mission is simple: to be a powerful force in the end to the AIDS epidemic. We are committed to no more discrimination. No more HIV infections. No more AIDS deaths. No matter who or where you are.
In July, John wrote an article in The Atlantic on the AIDS epidemic and its impact on the black community in the United States. While the singer praises the advances and achievements in the fight against the AIDS virus in the article, he also draws focus on the racial inequities concerning the transmission rates.
“These disparities are not random. Rather, they reflect centuries of discrimination. Persistent structural inequities in economic opportunity, education, and housing disproportionately expose Black families to serious health risks, including HIV/AIDS,” John writes. “And a lack of representation, combined with a painful history of racism in medicine, has undermined the Black community’s trust in health-care systems and made people less likely to seek care. The same disparities have become glaringly apparent as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic; Black Americans are dying at more than two times the rate of white Americans, and the death rate rises to sixfold in pandemic hot spots.”
On December 1st, World AIDS Day, John is taking his fight against the AIDS virus to social media. In partnership with TikTok, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is using the social media platform to raise awareness of AIDS. According to the post on TikTok, the campaign starts on November 25th “with an HIV/AIDS Education & Awareness Quiz to test TikTokers knowledge of this disease, as well as helping to educate them about prevention and their own sexual health.”
The post also details the live event featuring the singer on World AIDS Day:
On World AIDS Day itself, a special LIVE, presented by Elton John AIDS Foundation in Partnership with TikTok will take place at 7 pm GMT on Sir Elton John’s TikTok channel. Hosted by Reggie Yates, the show will feature Sir Elton John and David Furnish as well as TikTok stars and celebrity guests. Performances by critically acclaimed recording artist Rina Sawayama, BRIT Critics’ Choice Winner Sam Fender as well as OSCAR and Grammy-Award winning artist Sam Smith will also feature in the show.
Join us on #WorldAIDSDay Dec 1 at 7pm for a live event with some very special guests! 🚀 @tiktok_uk @samsmith @samfender @rinasawayamaofficial