Latifah Muhammad

7 Black Musicians Who Died of AIDS [PHOTOS]


It’s been just over 30 years since the first AIDS case was reported in the U.S., and despite the advances in medicine, there is no cure (that we know of). Even more disturbing is the fact that the epidemic continues to attack the Black community. Although Black people only make up less than a quarter of the country’s population, the number of AIDS cases among people of color is staggering. According to a 2009 report released by the Center for Disease Control, Black people account for 44 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S.

In an attempt to curb the numbers, the CDC has announced that it will  provide free HIV tests in 24 drug stores around the country, over the next year.

In honor of National HIV Testing Day, Hip-Hop Wired is encouraging the public to get tested. Here are seven black musicians who died of complications from AIDS.


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Photo: screen cap

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Comment Comments: 61 Tags Tags: hiv, fela kuti

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  • Ummmm Larry Blackman is part of Cameo NOT Wayne Cooper. smh

    • Wondabiz

      Wow. You guys are straight up tards for getting that wrong. Larry Blackmon go be mad as hell. Lol By the way, who is Wayne Cooper?

      • Chevonne22

        Wayne Cooper sang lead on “Shake Your Pants.”

      • T. Neal™

        Why have I lost you, Were goin Out tonight, ect, ect .. he WAS Cameo before he died.

      • Arlei Roberts

        Thank you.

      • Lamont Pearson

        Wayne did not sang lead on Shake Your Pants are you really serious?yOU must’ve been listening to the wrong group.

    • t682

      He was. He was with the band prior to 1981.

    • Chevonne22

      Wayne Cooper WAS a part of Cameo.

    • T. Neal™

      lol, Wayne Cooper was Cameo …

    • Arlei Roberts

      You are wrong.

    • Lamont Pearson

      What are you talking about Wayne Cooper was with Cameo since they burst on the scene in 1978 with Rigor Mortis.Wayne sang lead Why Have I Lost You both versions,we’re going out tonight and other jams.

  • that isn’t Wayne Cooper, that’s Larry Blackmon

    • 2PacIsHere


  • CriticXtreme

    HHW – you need to correct this error. This is not Wayne Cooper but Larry Blackmon and he has that other disease that has turned a lot of black women and fans off, Jungle Fever.

    • DC’s Finest

      That’s NOT Larry Blackmon in that photo, my dear

    • sepia830

      LMAO. I don’t know if you are right or wrong but that was funny as he//.

    • christielove

      @Critic: you had me cracking up a lot,but you are so right on the money. Larry Blackmon is seriously no loss to sistas,white women CAN have him.

  • Larry Blackmon needs to sue the ish outta whomever approved the photos for this article

  • nycki

    They all died in 1995, 1995 was a bad year for AIDS. God bless them all.

    • Chevonne22

      I was sure thinking the same thing.

  • Team Nymphis

    In France a skinny man dies from a big disease wit a little name.
    By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same

  • jamma

    luther vandross??

    • missthang84

      where the hell did you get your info luther vandross died of natural causes due to a massive stroke he had and never recovered that’s how rumors start.

      • WTF

        ummmm…debatable. His lover was Norwood Young…so very debatable.

  • joy gennett

    That is not Larry blackmon, he was not an original member of the band

  • Jackie

    On top of all that, that is NOT Bobby DeBarge, that is Tommy Debarge

    • Denise

      That’s what I thought also–that is definitely Tommy Debarge, not Bobby!

      • t682

        That is Bobby. Tommy had kinkier hair.

    • DC’s Finest

      EXACTLY! That is sooo not Bobby!! Who in the F@CK wrote this article???

  • Youknowwhatiitis

    What about Jermaine Stewart?

  • Just Saying

    why most of them announced their aids status around 1995?

    • Nina Dashotta

      They had it since the 80’s. Considering medication was not as advanced as it is now, they were on the “just getting by” meds. At that time they only had a prognosis of 5-10 years to live and that was keeping yourself healthy to a T. Wonder why easy e announced and died so quick? That’s why

    • Meelah

      Most of them didn’t announce until the mid to late 90s because before then HIV/AIDS was known as a “gay mans” disease. No one really knew how it was transmitted and people were over reacting. Once it turned from a “gay disease” and the face of AIDS became children born with it, transmitted by blood transfusions, drug use, and Magic Johnson that people felt more comfortable announcing it in public.

  • RS

    Wayne cooper was an original member of Cameo, he did most of the lead singing when the band first started you idiots

    • But he wasn’t around when Word Up was released in 1986!!! He died in 1984. SMH.

      • RS

        hey dummy cameo was founded in 1974..are you that dumb???

  • Nina Dashotta

    Kenny Green?? Intro ring a bell?

    • ebbie ukku

      I was gonna mention that. Intro had great music and I guess it’s not widely known that kenny died

  • DC’s Finest

    What about Bernard Edwards of Chic??????

    • Lucky502

      ‘Nard died of cerebral-spinal meningitis.

  • Za-Moon-Da

    PBS is showing a good documentary entitled ‘Endgame: Aids in Black America’ on Tuesday, July 10. Check yo’ local station.

  • imjustsaying

    This is irresponsible reporting. One doesnt die OF AIDS, but of complications FROM the virus.

    • theNewDanger

      complications that wouldn’t likely take a life were it not for the PRESENCE of AIDS … good point, doc

  • amberfierce

    @ Jamma I hope you’re not implying Luther Vandross died from AIDS!! If so have several seats boo.

  • Dial100AskMe

    As a follower of Switch and Debarge, that is Bobby not Tommy.

  • Jacquiline Perkins

    ”SO…who is next…

  • coach

    That is Bobby Debarge. Tommmy wore a mustache and was the Bass player

  • Jazmine

    That IS Bobby Debarge!!!!

  • That is Bobby. I know! Go youtube and watch the video by Switch “There will never be”, and you will see that’s Bobby all day long.

  • CriticXtreme

    There were definitely more than 7 black musicians who died from the BIG DISEASE WITH THE little name. It you did an analysis, more died between 1994-1995, 1 died in 1998, 1 does not have a date of death and one in 1984. It’s amazing that this disease will never be cured. But companies now can keep you alive at the same time they will make a mint off you. If AIDs was cured in the next 15 minutes, morons would go on a banging spree because they know there is a cure. So this why, there will not be a cure but there will be meds to keep these morons alive. ……”Wear a condom and think with the right head because not thinking will kill you”. This is my campaign and in my PSA, I would show people with aids and how horrible it is to get. When the penis gets hard and the pauzze gets wet, it’s like the Illuminati, it know what it wants and it goes after it…….

  • dschubba

    I was expecting to see Gil-Scott Heron here.

  • Dr. Boyce, please double check your information before posting it. I would expect a PhD to at least do that. SMH. Wayne Cooper was not the front man of Cameo and passed away 2 years before Word Up was released. Larry Blackmon is the lead singer of the group and wrote most of the songs. Wayne Copper was an older member that wasn’t even around during the groups popularity in the 80’s.

  • WTF

    It’s been a known fact for years that stars will claim they have “cancer”, but indeed was dying of complication of other AIDS. Way more should be on this list.

  • Malik

    I don’t believe Black People account for 44% of the Aids cases in America. A great deal of black men are jailed. And many are coming out of jail with aids. The homosexual rate has gone up ,but we are only 12% of the population. That doesn’t add up. White men are the source of much of the aids cases. Dispite what anyone may tell you. They don’t want to scare other nationalies from dealing with white men. Its bad for business. So they blame blacks to promote medical aid so they can receive it on the backs of Blacks to hide there. Practices. Look at how the Boy Scotts of America has hidden all the homosexual complaints , Pen state mess, thecathlic and christain church homosexual misconduct in America! Its homosexuals gone wild and the governments have promoted in prison and hide it where small boys are gatherd to learn. In the boy scotts these are grown fathers doing this to young white babies, husbands, business men and professors, teachers, doctors. With wives. White women don’t have to fear blackmen , the question is do you know who’s sleeping in your Bed!

  • wordup9

    Lonnie Pitchford died in 1998. Wayne Cooper did not sing on ‘Word Up’ as is implied here. Sloppy journalism.

  • Amaze DuMaine

    That is Bobby De Barge, the lead singer of the group Switch. He has on the same jacket on their 2nd album. Bobby had a soft curly afro, tommy had a shorter more manicured afro. Bobby died back in 1995 from full blown Aids. Tommy is still very much alive and trying very hard to over come his battle with drugs. You can always google their infomation to confirm if any of this info. is true, you will find out it is. If you haven’t seen current pictures of them, if may be a bit hard to swallow. El is the only one who still look much the same and still have a beautiful voice.

  • Amaze DuMaine

    Let us remember all of these men for their talents and how their music touched our lives. May they all rest in GOD loving hands and peace.

  • Dale

    This whole website and it’s affiliated sites are always off base, but then it’s niggahs, what do you expect ???

  • BlackVeggieVegan®™

    Wayne Cooper was part of Cameo, he was the falsetto on “Shake Your Pants” and “Why Have I Lost You” I swear people that don’t know Cameo history should have a seat and should remain quiet

  • Arlei Roberts

    My Uncle Wayne was a lead singer for Cameo before he left to pursue a solo career. Larry Blackman didn’t even have the courtesy to attend his funeral or send his condolences. My Uncle was a beautiful person inside and out. He died of AIDS.

  • Knowledge

    I wish I could have caught this discussion 2 years ago. How you gonna post under the name “TRUTH” and be dead wrong? It is also scary that with so many tools to acquire factual information, we still manage to boldly post inaccurate statements such as “Wayne Cooper was not a member of Cameo…” then have the nerve to add the “…smh..”?!
    Got to be a youngster.