16 Black Celebrities Who You Probably Didn’t Know Died of A.I.D.S

1. Easy E
Easy E or Eric Wright was 1/3 members of the gangsta rap group N.W.A (Niggas With Attitudes). He is probably one of the most well-known celebrities to have died of AIDS but there is suspicion on how he got the AIDS virus. 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, Eazy’s son, believe that the President of Death Row Records Suge Knight played a role in Eazy-E’s 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 to 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”.
Kenny Greene

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.   

Greene ended up springing 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. It’s called Kaposi’s sarcoma an AIDS-related disease. Also, he admitted he was homosexual or as he said bi-sexual because he had two girlfriends. Moreover, the guy that gave him AIDS was still alive. INTROS lead singer Kenny Greene died October 1, 2001, at 32 years old.  

“Keep protecting yourself with condoms and don’t have unprotected sex”- Kenny Greene

Arthur Ashe

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 a single title 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 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 an 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 ’70s and ’80s. He died due to A.I.D.S but there are also rumors of him dying from a plane crash. In fact, none of the rumors have been confirmed. Cooper passed in 1984 at the young age of 29. He was well-known for his unique high pitch singing voice.

6. Bobby Debarge

Bobby Debarge is well-known for being in the ’70s group ‘Switch’. It is said due to his drug addiction is how he contracted HIV, which later developed into A.I.DS. The DeBarge brother died of AIDS in 1995 at the age of 39 in Rapids Grand, Michigan.

7. Sylvester James

Sylvester James was bought up in the Watts projects in Los Angeles, California. Also, he is well-known for his group the Cockettes and their disco singles in the ’70s and ’80s. James died in 1988 from complications of the AIDS virus at the age of 41. For the most part, 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 ’80s. His position was the 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. Instantly he made a name for himself in the late 1970s and early 1980s while performing in parks in New York. Sadly, he contracted HIV by his use of heroin. His passing was on March 16, 1996, due to AIDS at the age of 41.

11. Esquerita

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 openly gay poet and activist. Essex wrote about identities, and race especially pertaining to the African-American gay community. Lastly, 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. Above all in 1985, he found out that his brother Enrique had died of AIDS. Nonetheless, since Esteban had been sharing needles with him, he went and got tested. As a consequence of his drug use, he 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 50s to 1997.  His brother on August 3, 1997 stated that he died of HIV/AIDS but those rumors haven’t been confirmed.  Furthermore, 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 ’80s. 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. Their group had hits like ‘This Is For The Lover In You’. In spite of all this, 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 ’90s. He also was a songwriter and record producer. He died of complications from spinal meningitis in 1995 at the young age of 32 due to AIDS. In fact, Mariah Carey released ‘One Sweet Day’ in memory of David Cole.

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