Black History Month

Patti LaBelle

Soul diva Patti LaBelle has enjoyed one of the longest-lived careers in contemporary music, notching hits in a variety of sounds ranging from girl-group pop to space-age funk to lush ballads.


"Initially, we all had a lot of misconceptions about AIDS and a great lack of knowledge. When we thought it was a gay disease, people were afraid of gay people, and society treated them like lepers. That was a sad time for our society, because no group of people deserves to be disenfranchised and treated unfairly for any reason. At the same time, so-called "straight" people thought they were free to do what they wanted to do, as long as they didn't do it with a gay person. Then we found out that it's the ordinary people that can get it: the girl next door (the nice girl next door), your doctor, your bus driver, or the kid in your school. Anybody. It's anybody's disease, and everybody's. This disease is not prejudiced, and it doesn't play favorites. AIDS doesn;t prefer black people, or gay people, or prostitutes, or drug addicts. I believe that it has quickly gained ground in the black community because we did not have enough information about it or access to health care. As a community, we have long stayed away from hospitals and doctors for myriad reasons, but the consequences of those suspicious tendencies have made us the new victims of this disease in record numbers."(pp.104-108).


An excerpt: "Life's Ups and Downs"


"Robertson, IV, Gil L. (2006). Not in My Family, AIDS in the African-American Community., Agate Publishing. Chicago."

Hill Harper

is a popular stage, film, and television actor. Currently starring in the television drama CSI: NY, Harper is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School. He is the author of the best-selling motivational book

Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny.


"There still seems to be a stigma and so much homophobia in the African-American community. It was once considered a "gay disease"; therefore, many were fearful of having that label applied to them, and as such avoided being tested. There is still a wide gap between truth and perception. Now, I think that as more people find out that it's treatable, they will be encouraged to get tested. With increased awareness comes decreased transmission. AIDS no longer has to be a death sentence unless it is kept quiet in our community."(pp.34-36)


an excerpt: "Who Will Step Up?"


"Robertson IV, Gil L. (2006). Not in My Family, AIDS in the African-American Community., Agate Publishing. Chicago."

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Actress, Author, Activist, Speaker, Music & Film


"I am committed to helping others find their voice and speak out, because there is nothing pretty or nice about this disease. It is time that we do more than have nice conversations about HIV/AIDS, because there are a lot of people right now in need of some real action."


an excerpt "Sometimes I Cry"

"Robertson IV, Gil L. (2006). Not In My Family, AIDS in the African-American Community., Agate Publishing. Chicago."


Learn more about Sheryl Lee Ralph;



G.O.S. Ministries, Inc.

God's Ordered Service in Community & Abroad.