EJAF: TALKING PRIDE

In 1990 an 18-year-old Indiana boy named Ryan White died of AIDS. A hemophiliac, he’d contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. When he passed, Sir Elton John was at his bedside, along with Ryan’s family.

Two years later, Sir Elton made a commitment to spend the rest of his life in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS from the face of the earth. He established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which, to date, has raised more than $600 million.

In 2010, Sir Elton wrote a moving tribute in the form of a letter to Ryan White. It read in part, “Dear Ryan, I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you. The friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV… I wish you could know how much the world has changed and how much you changed it… Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to life-saving treatments. In 1994, months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act.”

By 2018, it was estimated that the Ryan White Care Act had saved the lives of over 57,000 Americans.

Sir Elton concluded his heartfelt letter to the eternally young Ryan White: “You’ve been with me every day since you inspired me to change my life and carry on your work because of you… I pledge not to rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought. Your friend, Elton.”

The fifth annual “Can’t Cancel Pride,” a megawatt benefit concert of stars co-sponsored by iHeartMedia and Proctor & Gamble, will stream live on June 12th at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages, Hulu, Revry and The Advocate Channel. It’ll then be available on demand through the end of June.

The virtual event, which benefits six LGBTQ+ organizations—GLAAD, The Trevor Project, National Black Justice Coalition, SAGE, Centerlink and OutRight International—has previously raised over $14 million for these worthy charities.

In 2024, “Can’t Cancel Pride” will once again bring together some of the biggest names in music. One special moment, just announced, will be the presentation of the Elton John Impact Award. This year’s recipient is the incomparable Billy Porter. Porter who, in March, emceed the Gershwin Prize ceremony honoring the legendary songwriting duo of Elton John & Bernie Taupin, will now have the honor returned as Sir Elton presents his eponymous award to the talented Mr. Porter, another tireless champion for LGBTQ+ causes.

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