Tag Archives: celebs

HIV-positive Magic Johnson locked himself in bathroom to reveal diagnosis to lovers

Magic and Cookie Johnson recently celebrated 25 years of marriage (Getty Images)

Magic and Cookie Johnson recently celebrated 25 years of marriage (Getty Images)

Dealing with the magnitude of his HIV diagnosis was never going to be an easy task, but Magic Johnson’s wife has recalled how the former basketball star went into survival mode when having to inform his lovers that he had the disease. In her new memoir, Cookie Johnson reveals that the Lakers point guard ‘locked himself in a room and called the long list of women with whom he’d been intimate.’

The designer, and spouse of the NBA Hall of Famer, writes of how her husband’s health status rocked the foundation of her marriage in her book Believing In Magic, which is out later this month.

“In just one moment our world, this perfect union we’d fought so hard and so long to have was obliterated.”

And just like the scores of women who were forced to endure the 12-day wait to find out their fate, Cookie says she felt like she was living in her ‘own personal hell’.

Although human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can cause the immune system to fail, which leads to life-threatening infections and cancers to thrive – ie. acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) – at the time, many believed they were the same thing.

“Every morning I would wake up in a panic, worried that I too might be HIV positive and die. Or worse, that my baby would be sick and not make it,” she explains in excerpts serialised by the Daily Mail. “The stress coursed through my veins like a poison, occupying practically every moment of my day.”

The book delves into the impact on his family by his decision to go public with his HIV diagnosis, and to quit the NBA in 1991. Cookie was pregnant with their first child, EJ, at the time. In the weeks leading up to the conference in 1991, the Lakers had informed press that he was suffering from flu-like symptoms and jet lag.

(Want to know more about Magic’s ‘Announcement’? Click here)

Despite retiring from the game, he returned to the game 1992 NBA All-Star Game, where he took home the MVP award, then played 32 games in 1995-96.

After enduring speculation that he was gay or bisexual, the 56-year-old former sportsman he has been working tirelessly with the Magic Johnson Foundation to eradicate the stigma that surrounds the disease.

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Magic Johnson – The Announcment

“The Announcement” (Documentary: Tomorrow night on BT Sport 1 (Sky: 413 / Virgin 530).  Magic Johnson narrates a powerful and moving documentary about his announcement in 1991 that he had the HIV virus.

Magic Johnson is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).  After winning championships in high school and college, he was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers.

He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s

After a physical before the 1991–92 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV.  In a press conference held in November, 1991 he made a public announcement that he would retire immediately and stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to “battle this deadly disease”.  He went on to play on the 1992 gold medal Olympic Team and said he considered a comeback, but was disheartened when other players said they were scared they would contract the virus from his blood.

At the time, November 1991, his decision to announce his diagnosis to the world was considered exceptionally brave, since HIV/AIDS was heavily stigmatised to a greater degree than today.  Magic’s campaigns were pivotal in demonstrating to the world that the risk of infection was not limited to a specific creed of people.  Magic stated that his aim was to “help educate all people about what HIV is about” and teach others not to “discriminate against people who have HIV and AIDS” and when Johnson announced he had the virus, people started to realise the disease could – and was – affecting anyone.

The announcement became a major news story in the United States, and in 2004 was named as ESPN’s seventh most memorable moment of the past 25 years.  Many articles praise him as a hero, and former U.S. President George H. W. Bush said, “For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who loves sports.

After announcing his HIV status he created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV and later, diversified the foundation to include other charitable goals.  In 1992, he joined the National Commission on AIDS, but left after eight months, saying that the commission was not doing enough to combat the disease.  He was also the main speaker for the United Nations (UN) World AIDS Day Conference in 1999 and has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Twenty years on and the former NBA great still devotes much time and effort to raise money for research and is an inspiration to many.  He remains a living face for HIV education and activism and for many, is an inspiration to HIV positive individuals and their friends and families.

He said he never considered not coming forward with the details of his diagnosis, because he wanted to be a face to help de-stigmatise  the virus and raise awareness for the less famous or privileged victims dying daily.

Johnson is still reportedly in good health, which he credits with Anti-HIV medicine, exercise, and a great support system.

He travels nationwide giving motivational speeches and works with public officials from the UN and international AIDS foundations to fight for policy, awareness and clinics that benefit victims worldwide. Though he says he is sometimes reminiscent of his basketball days, he is most proud of his accomplishments off the court to help fight the battle against HIV/AIDS.

Now, over twenty years after contracting a disease that was supposed to kill him, Magic Johnson is killing the disease by using his celebrity to raise millions for HIV/AIDS research.

The Announcment” is a documentary, directed by Nelson George and narrated by Magic Johnson and is Magic’s second film on HIV (The award-winning “Life Support” for HBO in 2007, starring Queen Latifah is the first).  He said, “For me, “The Announcement” is not just a look back at a fraught, unforgettable moment in U.S. history, but a vehicle for re-introducing the subject of HIV/AIDS to an audience that may not know that [people] are still getting infected and, yes, still dying from this big disease with a little name.

Article collated from Wikipedia, ESPN Films, TSN and Positivelife.

It’s worth watching and if you have BT Sport 1, set your recorder for 11:30pm tomorrow (Tues 19th) night.

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Magic Johnson – The Announcment

Magic Johnson is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).  After winning championships in high school and college, he was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers.

He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s

After a physical before the 1991–92 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV.  In a press conference held in November, 1991 he made a public announcement that he would retire immediately and stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to “battle this deadly disease”.  He went on to play on the 1992 gold medal Olympic Team and said he considered a comeback, but was disheartened when other players said they were scared they would contract the virus from his blood.

At the time, November 1991, his decision to announce his diagnosis to the world was considered exceptionally brave, since HIV/AIDS was heavily stigmatised to a greater degree than today.  Magic’s campaigns were pivotal in demonstrating to the world that the risk of infection was not limited to a specific creed of people.  Magic stated that his aim was to “help educate all people about what HIV is about” and teach others not to “discriminate against people who have HIV and AIDS” and when Johnson announced he had the virus, people started to realise the disease could – and was – affecting anyone.

The announcement became a major news story in the United States, and in 2004 was named as ESPN’s seventh most memorable moment of the past 25 years.  Many articles praise him as a hero, and former U.S. President George H. W. Bush said, “For me, Magic is a hero, a hero for anyone who loves sports.

After announcing his HIV status he created the Magic Johnson Foundation to help combat HIV and later, diversified the foundation to include other charitable goals.  In 1992, he joined the National Commission on AIDS, but left after eight months, saying that the commission was not doing enough to combat the disease.  He was also the main speaker for the United Nations (UN) World AIDS Day Conference in 1999 and has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Twenty years on and the former NBA great still devotes much time and effort to raise money for research and is an inspiration to many.  He remains a living face for HIV education and activism and for many, is an inspiration to HIV positive individuals and their friends and families.

He said he never considered not coming forward with the details of his diagnosis, because he wanted to be a face to help de-stigmatise  the virus and raise awareness for the less famous or privileged victims dying daily.

Johnson is still reportedly in good health, which he credits with Anti-HIV medicine, exercise, and a great support system.

He travels nationwide giving motivational speeches and works with public officials from the UN and international AIDS foundations to fight for policy, awareness and clinics that benefit victims worldwide. Though he says he is sometimes reminiscent of his basketball days, he is most proud of his accomplishments off the court to help fight the battle against HIV/AIDS.

Today, Twenty years after contracting a disease that was supposed to kill him, Magic Johnson is killing the disease by using his celebrity to raise millions for HIV/AIDS research.

The Announcment” is a documentary, directed by Nelson George and narrated by Magic Johnson and is Magic’s second film on HIV (The award-winning “Life Support” for HBO in 2007, starring Queen Latifah is the first).  He said, “For me, “The Announcement” is not just a look back at a fraught, unforgettable moment in U.S. history, but a vehicle for re-introducing the subject of HIV/AIDS to an audience that may not know that [people] are still getting infected and, yes, still dying from this big disease with a little name.

Article collated from Wikipedia, ESPN Films, TSN and Positivelife.

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Whitney Houston

Described by Guinness World Records as music’s “most awarded female artist of all time” with an amazing tally of over 400 awards, a tally that is certainly topped by her two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 23 American Music Awards, MTV VMAs in the United States and Europe, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards and so on, Whitney Houston shot to fame in the 1980s when she became one of the first African-American female artists to receive regular rotation on MTV.  A feat that successfully opened doors for other women to find success in music and movies.  Best known for her work with Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard”, Houston has led a life of service to others when not on screen or behind a microphone.

She first showed her socially-conscious side when still a model, before her fame rocketed her to stardom.  Back then she refused to work for agencies that did business with South Africa, due to the country’s regime of apartheid.  It was an issue that she later brought to the attention of the world when she performed at Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert in London, an event that brought pressure on the Government to ease its restrictions and eventually release the future president of South Africa.

Following the concert, Houston formed the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, an organisation that cared for the homeless and children with cancer and HIV/AIDS.  It eventually brought the singer one of her many awards for her humanitarian work, as did her involvement with the United Negro College Fund.

Whitney Houston is also the only artist to turn a national anthem into a chart hit when her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner reached the Top 100 in 1991. She donated her royalties to the Red Cross.

True to her church upbringing, the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children Inc. was established in 1989 as a non-profit organisation that cares for such problems as homelessness, children with cancer and HIV/AIDS and other issues of self-empowerment.

In June 1995, the foundation was awarded a VH1 Honour for its charitable work. Funds have been raised for numerous causes involving children around the world, from South Africa to Newark, and generated more than $300,000 for the Children’s Defence Fund as a result of a 1997 HBO concert.

In 1997, the HBO Concert “Classic Whitney live from Washington DC” raised over $300000 for the Children’s Defence Fund.

Whitney also supported the work of over 30 other charities, click for more details.

Whitney’s tireless efforts have earned recognition from such organisations as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the United Negro College Fund and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, all of which have benefited from the heart and soul of a great artist and humanitarian. Singing to audiences on every continent, Whitney has won her worldwide following the old-fashioned way, digging deep down into her soul and finding common threads with her millions of fans.

Whitney Houston – 1963 – 2012

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Information about the effort and influence surrounding HIV/AIDS prominent activists is available here.

Amy Winehouse’s Charity Work, Events and Causes

Best known for her albums Frank and Back To Black, Amy Winehouse shot to fame in 2003 with a series of amazing singles highlighting her unique talents, as well as her incomparable style.

In 2008, she appeared naked in Easy Living magazine to raise awareness of breast cancer, a cause she supported throughout her career. She performed her hits Rehab and Valerie later that year at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in London.

In 2009, Winehouse expressed interest in helping young musicians in the Caribbean, where she lived for a period of time on the island of St Lucia. She supported the Hear The World campaign to raise awareness of the topic of hearing and hearing loss and to promote good hearing all over the world, and appeared on a CD with Cuban musicians to raise awareness of climate change.

In 2010, Amy offered the pro-bono use of her “Back to Black” song for a film, “Baby In The Sky” part of the Global Fund’s Born HIV Free campaign.

“Baby in the Sky” is a highly creative and imaginative animated film that conveys the beauty of life ahead for an unborn child. The film artistically portrays an imaginary journey in a world full of adventurous landscapes and fantastic creatures. It ends with a call from Carla Bruni-Sarkozy for an HIV-free generation in which she says “Life is a beautiful journey. Don’t let AIDS kill it.”

“It was a question of finding a true resonance with the images in the film created by Bonzoms”, says musician / producer Julien Civange, who conceived the Born HIV Free campaign, about the use of Winehouse’s music. “We wanted to find a piece that was modern but also well known, something that carried the same sensibility as the film. The magic came with the soundtrack by Amy Winehouse, an artist that Carla considers one of the greatest and most talented of her generation and who was generous enough to participate in the campaign.”

Amy Winehouse passed away on July 23, 2011.

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