Elton John praised former President George W. Bush and “conservative American politicians” for pledging billions of dollars to “save the lives of Africans with HIV.” He also credited hip-hop artist Jay-Z with starting a “domino effect” in the African-American community to support gay marriage.
“We’ve seen George W. Bush and conservative American politicians pledge tens of billions to save the lives of Africans with HIV. Think of all the love. Think of where we’d be without it, nowhere, that’s where. We’d be nowhere at all,” John said at the International AIDS conference in Washington on Monday.
“Thanks to all this compassion, thanks to all this love, more than 8 million people are on treatment. Thanks to people who have chosen to care and to act, we can see an end to this epidemic on the horizon.”
The Grammy award winner also addressed what he called “changes of attitude” toward same-sex marriage, especially in the African-American community.
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the most amazing speech and then the vice president made a speech, then the president endorsed gay marriage and then Jay-Z, who’s one of the most respected artists in his field in the world made an incredible statement supporting gay marriage and saying any criminalizing and discriminatory behavior in the world is wrong,” he said.
“For him to have said that, as an African-American and as a hugely respected person, it meant that the dominos fell. Three days later the NAACP said yes and then Colin Powell said yes and then Frank Ocean the hip hop singer said yes. It was like a domino effect.”
Elton John also said AIDS advocates need a role model.
“We haven’t had one since Magic Johnson. We need people to say it is okay to be HIV positive. Look at me. I’m leading this life. I’m okay. People treat me good. We need to move forward in that respect,” he said.