On June 5, to mark the 40th anniversary of the first CDC report related to HIV/AIDS, public officials, activists and celebrities will converge on San Vicente Boulevard next to West Hollywood Park for the groundbreaking for Stories: The AIDS Monument, a 7,000-square-foot art installation honoring those who have died of AIDS or are living with HIV. The monument is set to open in late 2022; an audio component, “Hear Our Stories,” accessed through the installation’s website, will include readings from The AIDS Memorial, an Instagram account about people who died of AIDS. Here, Variety gives an exclusive first look at some of the initial celebrity participants and the people they will be reading about.
Billy Porter → Sylvester
Born in L.A.’s Watts, the singer-songwriter was a disco pioneer with hits like “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat).” He died in 1988 at age 41.
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Whoopi Goldberg → Emile Ardolino
A director, choreographer and producer, he won the Oscar for best documentary in 1983 for “He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’.’’ Before his death at age 50 in 1993, Ardolino directed box office hits “Dirty Dancing” and “Sister Act.”
Sterling K. Brown → Glenn Burke
While the pro baseball player wasn’t out publicly when he played for the Dodgers and the A’s between 1976 and 1979, he did tell his teammates and owners he was gay. After retiring, he competed twice in the Gay Games before his death in 1995 at 42.
Cheyenne Jackson → White Eagle
An opera singer (his birth name was Mervyn Moore), White Eagle performed more than 4,000 concerts before dying at 45 in 1995.
Wilson Cruz → Pedro Zamora
The Cuban American AIDS educator (in the black shirt) became one of the first openly gay men with HIV/ AIDS to be seen regularly on television when he was cast on MTV’s “The Real World: San Francisco.” He was 22 when he died in 1994.
Richard Gere → Herb Ritts
Considered one of the greatest fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century, he gained attention in the late 1970s for photographs he took of Gere while waiting for a car tire to be changed. He died in 2002 at 50.
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