AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) partners with dance icon Debbie Allen, in recognition of World AIDS Day.
The event took place on November 30, 2018 at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. Dance icons graced the stage in recognition of the many lives lost as the result of HIV/AIDS. The tribute performances were dedicated to the late Ulysses Dove, Michael Peters, Gene Anthony Ray, Michael Bennett, Rudolph Nuryev, and Alvin Ailey.
When we asked Debbie Allen what it meant to be presented the AHF Lifetime Achievement Award in this specific moment of her life, she said “it just means that the work that I am doing is significant and still inspirational to people and I’m still working like a kid, at 68 years old!”
Other attendees included George Faison, Lillias White, and Eartha Robinson.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about the fight for AIDS in 2018?
George Faison: “The awareness goes on! The illness has not gone away. They’ve got medicines and things that can prolong your life and so forth but we haven’t cured AIDS, so we’re gonna fight it! It’s a global thing, not just a black thing like how they tried to portray it in the early days when there were [so many] young guys dropping in the streets, literally and stepping over the bodies on Broadway — they were the victims of this insidious disease and we’re still fighting it, still going on and we’re here to carry on their name.”
The Knockturnal: Why is it important to ‘Keep The Promise’ in the community of Harlem?
Lillias White: “We have so many people in our community who are not being served. We have people who are ill and don’t know it or who are ill and the illness is not being addressed. We don’t always have the facilities or the capital to do what’s necessary for our people. So it’s important for events like this to happen to bring awareness and to get people thinking about how they are living, what they’re doing, [and] encouraging people to wrap it up because that’s what’s up!”
The Knockturnal: What are some of the major changes in the dance world currently and its influence from the past?
Eartha Robinson: “There’s a lot of changes, and that’s a whole other conversation because I could be here all night with that subject, but dance has changed incredibly. Tonight is going to be wonderful because we get to reminisce and to see who has gone before us. And for the younger ones to see what’s coming ahead because the change has happened so rapidly and we [often] forget the shoulders we stand upon. This is greatness! I think every young dancer should reach back and know their history and know the bridges that were built for them. And just sharing, giving back and being compassionate keeps you healthy, keeps you young, and your mind!”
For more information on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, click here.