UNAIDS Names Designer Cole as Goodwill Ambassador

 FILE - Designer Kenneth Cole, pictured at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Cannes international film festival, May 19, 2016, was one of the first celebrities to speak out publicly about HIV, which hit the fashion industry hard in the 1980s.

FILE – Designer Kenneth Cole, pictured at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at the Cannes international film festival, May 19, 2016, was one of the first celebrities to speak out publicly about HIV, which hit the fashion industry hard in the 1980s.

VOA NEWS} – The head of the United Nations’ AIDS-fighting organization on Tuesday named U.S. fashion designer Kenneth Cole as an international goodwill ambassador, the day before a U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting on AIDS begins.

UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe said he thought Cole, who has a long history of AIDS activism, could make a “significant and powerful contribution” toward the international goal of ending AIDS by 2030. Sidibe praised Cole for “his commitment, compassion and resolve” and said the designer would help ensure that “no one is left behind.”

Cole, who made his name designing upscale clothing and shoes, was one of the first famous figures to speak out publicly about HIV, which hit the fashion industry hard in the 1980s. Cole organized a group of celebrities including supermodels Christie Brinkley and Beverly Johnson and celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz to produce a public service announcement calling for AIDS research.

At the time, AIDS carried a heavy stigma, so associating it with famous names and faces was a way of drawing support and legitimacy to the cause.

Cole has worked with the Foundation for AIDS Research, known as amfAR, since 1987, joining first as a board member and later serving as chairman. Cole said Tuesday that he hoped to combine his work for the two organizations. He said that “AIDS can be ended as a public health crisis if the resources are available.”  READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 15607 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.