Janet Jackson was honored by amfAR, the foundation for AIDS research, this week. Considering Thursday was National Black HIV/AIDS awareness day the recognition couldn’t be more appropriate to highlight Janet’s work sounding the alarm on a disease that continues to ravage the black community. However, it’s still hard to believe that within this close-knit society–where the HIV infection rate among African-Americans is higher than any other race or ethnic group–stigmas and stereotypes still persist to a level of overlooking the statistics and/or abusing those that are infected.
Janet, amfAR ambassador, touched on these issues in her CNN OP-ED released on World AIDS Day. She thinks we can approach the problem head on.
Second, we must fight the disease — not the people who have it. We need an open dialogue among families, schools, and churches about the risks of HIV, and we need to recognize the role stigma plays in pushing the epidemic underground and unchecked. Stigma against people living with this disease, or who are particularly vulnerable to it, has no place in our evidence-based quest to stop the spread of AIDS. We must hate this disease; we must never hate our fellow human beings.
Janet has been a passionate supporter of HIV/AIDS awareness starting in 1997 when she dedicated the best-selling dance jam “Together Again” to a friend that died of AIDS. If you’ve ever gone to one of her concerts she always closes out a show with this song. Proceeds of the song’s release went to amfAR AIDS research.
And we all know that Janet stepped into the role of “Red,” a woman diagnosed as HIV positive in the tear-jerker “For Colored Girls.” Yet, another outlet to shine a light on HIV/AIDS.
It’s nice to know that an iconic woman like Janet “Pleasure Principle” Jackson, who has oozed sex appeal since the ’80s (seriously, does this woman age?!) use her star power to teach kids to be responsible for their sexual lives. KUDOS!!