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Today, December 1, marks World AIDS Day and the beginning of HIV Awareness Month.

While this deadly epidemic continues to affect the entire world, it has hit especially hard in the Black community. According to the CDC’s 2019 reporting, 40% of people living with HIV in the U.S. are Black, despite making up only 13% of the U.S. population. With several factors playing into the disproportionate impact of HIV among Black Americans (racism, systemic inequities, etc.), it is especially crucial for us to take action.

As much as it is a day for taking action, World AIDS Day is also a day of remembering and celebrating the impact of those we lost along the way. Since first coming into the public conscience in the 1980s, we have lost a number of notable Black trailblazers. However, their spirit and impact will last forever.

Scroll through our gallery to remember those we lost to HIV/AIDS

#KnowYourStatus #BreakTheStigma

WORLD AIDS DAY: Remembering Black Celebrities We Lost  was originally published on

1. Eazy-E (1963-1995)

Rapper, producer, entrepreneur, founding member of NWA

2. Alvin Ailey (1931-1989)

Dancer, choreographer, director, founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

3. Sylvester (1947-1988)

Disco singer/songwriter, best known for the hit, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”

4. Melvin Lindsey (1955-1992)

Radio DJ, originator of the “Quiet Storm” format

5. Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

Tennis player, only Black man to win singles title at Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open

6. Fela Kuti (1938-1997)

Musician, bandleader, composer, political activist, noted as “King of Afrobeats”

7. Gene Anthony Ray (1962-2003)

Actor, dancer, choreographer, known for playing “Leroy” in Fame

8. Howard Rollins (1950-1996)

Actor, best known for playing “Virgil Tibbs” in TV adaptation of In The Heat Of The Night

9. Jermaine Stewart (1957-1997)

Singer & dancer, best known for the hit “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off”

10. Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

Poet, singer, musician, and early Hip-Hop influencer, best known for poem, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

11. Kenny Greene (1969-2001)

Singer, songwriter, lead vocalist for R&B group Intro (“Let Me Be The One,” “Come Inside”)

12. Max Robinson (1939-1988)

Broadcast journalist, first Black broadcast network news anchor in the U.S. (ABC World News Tonight)