Elton John Founds Frankie Knuckles HIV Fund
In honor of legendary late DJ Frankie Knuckles, "The Godfather of House Music," Sir Elton John announced this week that he will establish the Frankie Knuckles Fund, to support HIV information, testing and treatment among black communities in the U.S., the U.K. and Africa.
"Frankie was such a lovely man and a great talent and his legacy provides a powerful voice to reach out to people, particularly men of color, about their essential role in helping to create an AIDS-free future," said John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, in an in Chicago Go Pride.
John's foundation noted that black men remain at a high risk of HIV, and are 40 percent more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV late, when they 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 percent of the population, but account for 46 percent of people living with HIV. Frankie's name and image can help us reach into Black communities with urgently needed information and services."
On March 31, Knuckles passed away suddenly from complications with diabetes. He was 59 years old.
Knuckles passing affected a wide swath of people, including President Barack Obama and his First Lady Michelle Obama. Pitchfork reports how in 2004, they helped declare August 25 Frankie Knuckles day in Chicago.
In an April 17 note from the White House to Knuckles' friends and family, they expressed their sadness at his passing and recognized his work on the dance floor.
"Frankie's work helped open minds and bring people together, blending genres to capture our attention and ignite our imaginations," they wrote. "He was a trailblazer in his field, and his legacy lives on in the city of Chicago and the dance floors across the globe."
Check out Knuckles' "Your Love" below: