10 TV Stars Who Are HIV Activists
At 64, Jessica Lange is one of the most accomplished talents in Hollywood. Currently, the Academy Award–winning actress wows fans with her portrayal of the witch Fiona on American Horror Story: Coven. But her work doesn’t end there. Lange has long been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, working to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in Russia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As a singer, actor, and activist, Naturi Naughton is a triple threat to HIV. The Client List star is a Greater Than Aids ambassador who has also lent her singing voice to the annual HIV and AIDS benefit concert DIVAS Simply Singing!
She may be best known as the powerhouse singer Rachel Berry on Glee, but Lea Michele has also used her talents to benefit HIV- and AIDS-related causes through Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that brings together Broadway’s best for a variety of events that raise funds for AIDS service organizations.
Comedian Kathy Griffin knows that HIV is no joke. The host of the Kathy talk show is a regular speaker and emcee at events for HIV and AIDS organizations including amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, which supports scientific research and political advocacy.
It has been a breakthrough year for Jonathan Groff, a leading voice actor in the film Frozen as well as the lead of the new HBO series Looking. But Groff’s most challenging work yet may be his role in the upcoming film The Normal Heart, based on author-activist Larry Kramer’s semiautobiographical play about the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City.
Yvette Nicole Brown, who stars as Shirley Bennett on NBC’s Community, may be celibate, but she chose to be tested for HIV in 2004 at a Black AIDS Institute event to raise awareness among African-Americans. Recently Brown became a Greater Than Aids ambassador to further promote her message of self-empowerment through testing to women and girls.
Hill Harper is a smart man. In addition to playing HIV-positive characters in the movie The Visit and TV series Soul Food, the Harvard Law School graduate and former CSI: NY star has also written several books, including Letters to a Young Brother and The Conversation, that educate young people about HIV and AIDS. One of the most visible black HIV activists in Hollywood, he has also been a featured spokesman for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
As a spokeswoman for Greater Than AIDS, Tamala Jones is no stranger to activism. The Castle star has appeared in numerous public service announcements on HIV testing, stigma, and research, including a video for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (which happens March 10).
As a Greater Than AIDS ambassador, Jason George is seeking to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS among African-Americans. The busy actor and activist portrays Dr. Ben Warren on Grey’s Anatomy and Adam Noble on Witches of East End, but his most significant role is pushing for visibility around HIV.
Another Glee star, Darren Criss (who plays Blaine), is an avid supporter of HIV and AIDS causes as well as LGBT rights. The “Teenage Dream” singer has crooned his support at fundraisers for groups such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.