Since Magic Johnson famously revealed that he was HIV positive in 1991, the retired NBA legend has been one of the most successful advocates for HIV prevention and education and become a face of knowledge and change for the epidemic. And now the famous mogul is taking on a new cause – battling homophobia. Johnson recently revealed that he wants combat homophobia in hip-hop as well as stereotypes surrounding HIV infections.
While speaking with The Huffington Post Canada about his HIV prevention and education efforts, Johnson explained that he was inspired to make changes in the way minority communities perceive and treat HIV by the white gay community.
“I learned a lot from the white gay community because they had gotten their community, rallied them, educated them and did a wonderful job about driving the numbers down. That is the best approach that I’ve seen; it’s been the most effective,” explained Johnson. “So what we try to do in our community is bring those results to us. So I’m working hard to continue to educate minorities about HIV and AIDS and we’ve got to band together. We’re too fragmented right now, but if we can do that, we’re going to do well.”
Johnson now wants to take elements of that same approach and apply it to the hip-hop community.
“As a hip-hop fan, you realize that homophobia is still an issue everywhere, but especially in the black community. When people are scared to talk about it, that’s how the disease spreads. So what have you been doing to get that risk reduced?” said Johnson. What we’re trying to do is reach out to the hip-hop community because they have power — power with their voice, power with that mic in their hand and power with the lyrics that they sing. I have a lot of friends in that industry and so what we’re trying to do is rally them to get behind the cause, deliver the message to these young people that HIV and AIDS is big and it’s not going anywhere. They can make a difference right away by speaking out, because they have a big fan base.
Johnson continued, “So we’re finding out that a lot of them want to be involved; they’re just looking for a group like ours to latch onto and be a part of it. We haven’t really had any push-back from the hip-hop community.”
Johnson explained that he will soon announce a number of his celebrity friends who are joining his cause in fighting homophobia and HIV.
“We’re going to name everybody in a little while because it’s more than one person. We’ve got about five or six people that we’re talking to. We’re going to come out next year with everybody and we’ll have a nice big press conference and what we’re going to do, what our plan is, because it’s so important that we rally — not just them, either. I need the Hip-Hop community but I also need the basketball players and football players. We need a little bit of everybody, so that’s what we’re working on now.”
Well, kudos to Johnson for recognizing the negative impact that homophobia has on society as well as HIV infection rates and trying to combat the problem head on. Though Johnson has yet to reveal his list of celebrity supporters, below are celebs who would likely join his cause. – nicholas robinson