Philip Reed

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Philip Reed “I have not been a saint,” was Phil Reed’s response when asked whether or not he was shocked after being diagnosed with HIV. Sure, he went through the expected depression and panic, but after surviving the first six months, he moved on and never looked back. That was 1981. Indeed, Philip Reed moved …

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Jenifer Lewis

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jenifer Lewis Jenifer Lewis is passionate about AIDS. The actress and entertainer has lost over 200 friends to the disease, dating back as far as 1979, when she visited a sick producer in the hospital and was told by her mother, who was also one of the attending nurses: “Put a mask on. We …

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Duane Cramer

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Duane Cramer In 1986, his father died of AIDS, a fact the family did not openly discuss with the world. In 1996, he found out that he himself was infected with HIV, a fact he did not then openly discuss with the world. In 2006, he’s a living, thriving example of an openly HIV-positive …

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Ron Dellums

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums (Retired) Global Hero During his nearly three decades as a member of United States House of Representatives, one of Ron Dellums’s proudest achievements was helping to bring down apartheid in South Africa by acting as the visionary leader of congressional efforts to end American support for the racist regime. Still, …

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Thomas Dexter “T.D.” Jakes

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Thomas Dexter “T.D.” Jakes The pandemic is running rampant in the Black community. Some want to talk about it, some don’t, and the topics of sex, homosexuality and drug use only cloud reality and incite fear. What would you do? What would Bishop T.D. Jakes do? Why, take the HIV/AIDS test. It may have …

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Sonya Lockett

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Sonya Lockett “We’re treating a disease of the 21st century like it’s 1950,” she says. If anyone should know, it would be a woman who was raised in small-town America. Sonya Lockett grew up in Baton Rouge, La., a place she calls “fabulous,” and adds, “It’s very Southern with a big emphasis on family …

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Jerry Lopes

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jerry Lopes Jerry Lopes is a hero in a very Herculean struggle. As a small number of corporations swallow up more and more of the world’s media outlets, the quest for coverage of the issues affecting the African Diaspora becomes an epic one. Enter the American Urban Radio Networks, the largest vehicle for reaching …

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Patrik-Ian Polk

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Patrik-Ian Polk As a Black director who is openly gay, Patrik-Ian Polk challenges stereotypes just by showing up for work. But Polk is not content just being a player in the Hollywood game. Polk is intent on being a player who makes a difference in the Black gay community. Not only does the Mississippi …

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Sandra Johnson

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Saundra Johnson Advocate Throughout her life, Saundra Johnson has never avoided the hard jobs. “I haven’t been a hotel maid yet,” she laughs. “But if it’s nasty, I’ve done it.” When the AIDS epidemic spread across America in the 1980s, her occupational direction began to take focus. “I saw the very first article on …

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Jesse Milan, Jr.

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{artsexylightbox}{/artsexylightbox} Jesse Milan, Jr. “My whole life is focused on HIV/AIDS!” Those words are no understatement when it comes to Jesse Milan, Jr.. True, he’s been living with the virus for 25 years and counting, but HIV is more than just a part of his body. HIV is a part of his life’s work. An …

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