16 Black Celebrities Who You Didn’t Know Died Of AIDS
1. Easy E
Easy E or Eric Wright was 1/3 members; including DR. Dre and Ice Cube, to the Compton, California Gangsta Rap Music Group, N.W.A (Niggas With Attitudes). After suffering from what Easy thought was lung congestion, he was hospitalized and treated for bronchitis or tuberculous. A week after revealing he had contracted AIDS, March 26th 1995 he died from the virus. Speculations of how he contracted AIDS is still unknown and some, including members of Bone Thugs and harmony and his daughter Ebie Wright, who believes that after a motorcycle accident he was injected with the HIV virus.
Rapper Frost, the first Latino to get signed to Ruthless Records, and recorded Smile now die later with Easy-E also believes tainted needles used for acupuncture treatments after getting hurt riding quads in Honda Valley Hesperia. Young Eazy or Marquis Wright, Easy’s son, believe that President of Death Row Records Suge Knight, played a role in Eazy-E death following an interview that he did with Jimmy Kimmel saying, quote “Technology is so high. So, if you shoot someone, kids, you don’t want go to jail forever. They got this new thing out that people sell them all the time. They get blood from someone with AIDS and shoot you with it. That’s a slow death. And Eazy-E thang, you know what I mean”.
Jimmy Kimmel went off to say that Suge’s Terrorist alert level went from elevated to high following that statement. His doctor stated that Eazy-E came in contact with the virus through promiscuous heterosexual relationships. Eazy-E claimed to have seven children by 6 different women and died with his wife, Tomika Woods, who he had just recently married, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California.
2. Kenny Greene
Kenny Greene was a songwriter and a singer from the 90’s R&B group INTRO. He was their lead singer with incredible vocals. They had several cuts like ‘Ribbon In The sky’, and ‘Come Inside’. Unfortunately, Kenny Greene was diagnosed with AIDS. Before he passed he did an Interview with Sister 2 Sister magazine, and he said he had known for a long time that he has AIDS. He ended up spranging his ankle and a ball came under his foot that bruised really bad. The ball on his foot ended up swelling to the size of a tennis ball. He said it’s called Kaposi’s sarcoma an AIDS related disease. He also admitted he was homosexual or as he said bi-sexual because he had two girlfriends. He stated he knew the guy that gave him AIDS and that he was still alive. Kenny Greene died October 1, 2001 at 32 years old.
“Keep protecting yourself with condoms and don’t have unprotected sex”- Kenny Greene
3. Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe was the first African-American Tennis Player selected to play in the US Davis Cup team and in 1965 won the individual NCAA championship. This famous tennis player was also the only African-American male to win single titles at the Wimbledon Championship Tennis Tournament and at both, US and Australia Open. After suffering a heart attack in the late 1970s and being hospitalized for 10 days after he underwent a surgery, Ashe retired from tennis in 1980 with 818 wins and 260 losses. Following a second bypass surgery in the late 1980s, he received a blood transfusion and hopes of a speedy recovery.
Unfortunately, because of this blood transfusion he contracted the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV. During the same time he and Harry Belafonte founded the Artist and Athletes against apartheid and was arrested in South Africa during a anti-apartheid protest in 1985. In the early 1990s, Ash held a press conference announcing that he had contracted the AIDS virus. The same year he was named by Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year. February 1993, at the age of 49 he died of AIDS. Alongside statues of Southern civil rights figures like Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Stan’s a bronze statue of Arthur Ashe holding a racket and one of his hands and a set of books in Richmond, Virginia on Monument Avenue. In membranes of Arthur Ashe, the United States tennis Association has an annual Arthur Ashe Memorial Tournament.
4. Howard Rollins
Howard Rollins was best known for his role Virgil Tibbs in the 90’s hit show ‘Heat of The Night’. Consequently, after several drug and alcohol related arrests his career ended with the TV series. He also was gay and a very well-known drag queen in the gay community.
Many who knew Howard reported that he lived a secret double life and often visited transvestite clubs cross dressing as a woman. Howard was gay and love to dress in drag and transform himself into a woman. In the gay community, he was well-known as a drag queen. Unfortunately he was found unconscious in his New York apartment with blood coming from his nostrils and mouth. He had AIDS and later died of lymphoma on Dec 8, 1996 at the age of 46 while being hospitalized in New York City. He wanted to be buried as a woman.
5. Wayne Cooper
Wayne Cooper was the lead vocalist from the legendary group ‘Cameo’ in the 70’s and 80’s. Wayne died due to AIDS but there is also rumors of him dying from a plane crash. None of the rumors have been confirmed. He was well-known for his unique high pitch singing voice. He passed in 1984 at the young age of 29.
6. Bobby Debarge
Bobby Debarge is well-known for being in the 70’s group ‘Switch’. He died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 39 in Rapids Grand, Michigan. It is said due to his drug addiction he contracted HIV which later developed into AIDS.
7. Sylvester James
Sylvester James was bought up in the Watts project in Los Angeles California. He is well-known for his group the Cockettes and the disco singles in the 70’s and 80’s. He died in 1988 from complications of the AIDS virus at the age of 41. He left all his future royalties to the San Fransisco AIDS/HIV organization.
8. Alan Wiggins
Alan Wiggins was from Los Angeles, California and was a professional baseball player for the San Diego Padres. He was known to have a habit of doing hard drugs and was soon diagnosed with AIDS. He died in 1991 at the age of 32. His daughter Candice Wiggins now plays in the WNBA. She was 4 when her father Alan Wiggins died of AIDS.
9. Chad Kinch
Chad Kinch was a professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks in the early 80’s. his position was point guard and shooting guard. Unfortunately, he died years later in 1994 from AIDS complications at the age of 35 in his home state New Jersey.
10. Charlie Barnett
Charlie Barnett was a comedian and actor from West Virginia. He is well-known for being on Def Comedy Jam. He instantly made a name for himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s,while performing in parks in New York. He contracted HIV by his use of heroin. He died March 16, 1996 due to AIDS at the age of 41.
Esquerita is well-known for influencing little Richard and is said to be the true originator of Rock n Roll. He died of AIDS in 1986.
12. Essex Hemphill
Most people know of Essex Hemphill for being an open gay poet and activist. He wrote about identities, and race especially pertaining to the African-American gay community. In 1994 he talks about his experience with AIDS in his writing ‘Vital Signs’. He later died on November 4, 1995 at the age of 38.
13. Esteban De Jesus
Esteban De Jesus was a former World Boxing Council lightweight champion from 1976 to 1978 from Puerto Rico. He is well known for knocking out Roberto Duran. He admitted using drugs like cocaine and heroin while he was boxing. In 1985, he found out that his brother Enrique had died of AIDS. Esteban had been sharing needles with him, so he went and got tested and was tested positive for AIDS. In 1989 he died of AIDS at the age of 37 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
14. Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti or Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti is originally from Nigeria. He is an activist, songwriter, composer and known as the father of Afro Beat which is a mix of Yoruba, jazz and funk in the 50’s to 1997. His brother on 3 August 1997 stated that he died of HIV/AIDS but those rumors haven’t been confirmed. It is also rumored that he possibly died from Kaposi’s Sarcoma, which is a symptom of having HIV/AIDS infection.
15. Jermaine Stewart
Jermaine Stewart got started by dancing on the Chicago Soul Train show. He then moved to Los Angeles to perform on Soul Train there and he just rose into a STAR from there. Jermaine Stewart was an R&B singer in the late 80’s. He is best known for the hit songs “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” and “The Word Is Out”. He was also a background singer for the legendary trio group Shalamar. Shalamar had hits like ‘This Is For The Lover In You’. Unfortunately, he died March 17, 1997 at the age of 39 in Chicago due to AIDS.
16. David Cole
David Cole was from the legendary group CC music factory in the 90’s. He was a songwriter and record producer. He died of complications in 1995 at the young age of 32 due to AIDS. Mariah Carey released ‘One Sweet Day’ in memory of David Cole.