Written by | Ray Cornelius
Oscar winning hip-hop star and actor, Common and Grammy winning-R&B legend, Patti LaBelle, joined forces Thursday night (August 6) in Atlanta, GA for the ‘Vote 2 End HIV’ Concert. The free event was held at the historic Fox Theatre and commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was also a rally to help galvanize voter support of elected officials to direct governmental resources toward the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV/AIDS in minority communities. ‘Vote 2 End HIV’ was sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), AID Atlanta, Robi Reed’s Reed for Hope Foundation and LoveHealthy.org.
Patti LaBelle rocking the stage
According to statistics, African-Americans account for almost half (44%) of all HIV + people in the U.S., but only make up 12% of the population while Latinos account for 21% of all new HIV infections and are 16% of the U.S. population. Even more disturbing is the infection rate for the city of Atlanta, which currently ranks #5 in the U.S. These startling numbers is what motivated AHF President, Michael Weinstein to take action now.
Johnny Wright interviewing AHF President, Michael Weinstein
“When you look at the map of the confederacy, it basically matched the map of HIV in America. Most of the new cases of HIV are happening in the deep South and I think by having these iconic performers along with Rev. Al Sharpton and other community activists, sends a strong and powerful message. I think we’re in a era where treatment is prevention and people can live well with HIV. I think we need to get that message out. And I think the culture is the best way to do it,” said Weinstein.
The always colorful Gary with the Tea hosting the show
Other featured acts included Oxygen’s The Prancing Elite and Danish composer, Thomas Buttenschon. Media stars, Gary with the Tea and Maria More served as hosts and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam made a special appearance along with an award winning Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. step team.
Jasmine Guy with Algebra Blessett
Celebrities in attendance included red carpet host and hairstylist to FLOTUS, Johnny Wright; Civil Rights advocate, Rev. Al Sharpton; acclaimed casting director, Robi Reed; R&B singer, Kelly Price; “Bravo Fashion Queens” Miss Lawrence and Derek J; “Braxton Family Values” star Towanda Braxton; actor, Carl Payne; actress, Jasmine Guy; actor, T.C. Carson; “Love Thy Neighbor” star Palmer Williams; and ‘The Haves and the Have Nots” actress Crystal Fox. Also spotted was singer Algebra Blessett; “For Better or Worse” actor, Brad James; RHOA’s Kenya Moore, actress, Jasmine Burke; media personality, Joyce Littel; and former RHOA star, NeNe Leakes with her husband, Greg Leakes.
Check out all of the red carpet photos and concert pics below:
Rev. Al Sharpton
Kelly Price and Robi Reed
Towanda Braxton and Palmer Williams
Johnny Wright and Jasmine Burke
Miss Lawrence and Derek J
Crystal Fox and Joyce Littel
Jasmine Guy and T.C. Carson
Brad James and Crystale Wilson
Elisabeth and Afemo Omilami
Kenya Moore with Johnny Wright
CONCERT ~ COMMON & PATTI LABELLE
Common performed all of his hits “Testity,” “Go,” “I Used to Love H.E.R,” “The Light” and “Come Close”
Screen shot of Common performing his Oscar winning-song “Glory” with a choir
Keshia Knight-Pulliam introduced the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity step team thrilled the crowd with their pose and precision
Patti performed her hits including “If You Asked Me To,” “Lady Marmalade” and “Love, Need and Want You”
Patti reminded security that she is no “diva” like Diana or Aretha (Yes! The shade was real)
Patti also performed “Total Praise,” “You Are My Friend” and “Somewhere…” with a choir
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com