The Elton John AIDS Foundation, in collaboration with Judy Weinstein and Defmix Productions, has established the Frankie Knuckles Fund to support HIV information, testing and treatment.
Following the passing of the man known as the “Godfather of House Music,” on March 31, the EJAF has been chosen to establish a Fund in Knuckles’ memory receiving donations for the organisation’s work with men at high risk of HIV in Africa as well as African communities in the UK, and African American communities in the U.S.
“Frankie was such a lovely man and a great talent,” commented Elton, “and his legacy provides a powerful voice to reach out to people, particularly men of colour, about their essential role in helping to create an AIDS-free future.”
Black men are 40% are more likely than white males to be diagnosed with HIV late. This is particularly dangerous as people who are diagnosed late with HIV are 10 times more likely to die of AIDS.
“Through the creation of this Fund, Frankie Knuckles’ music industry legacy will be transformed into a movement for health and empowerment in the Black community,” said EJAF-US Executive Director Scott Campbell. “In the United States, Black Americans represent only 13% of the population, but account for 46% of people living with HIV. Frankie’s name and image can help us reach into Black communities with urgently needed information and services.”
Two memorial services are taking place this month: on April 21st in Chicago and April 22nd in New York City. A string of tribute events are being organised throughout 2014. Frankie was popular in his native U.S., but his reach captured millions of fans in Europe, Australia, Asia and beyond. It’s believed he would have appreciated knowing such vital work was being done in his memory.