Legendary queer icons bring to life a groundbreaking play examining the love between GBT+ men in contemporary New York a generation after the AIDS epidemic in a moving tribute by the AIDS Memorial for World AIDS Day 2020.
In collaboration with playwright Matthew López, the AIDS Memorial Instagram account have gathered together a cast of incredible celebrities to perform Walter’s speech at the end of The Inheritance play in Act 1. Divided into 33 sections, the video delivers a powerful commemoration for World AIDS Day 2020.
On Instagram, the AIDS Memorial wrote, “In this year of loss, it is vitally important to continue the tradition of remembrance that began with the unveiling of the AIDS Quilt back in 1987. And while today we remember those whom we lost to AIDS, we hope this spirit will extend to those we have lost this year to COVID-19.”
López’s play The Inheritance premiered in 2018 to critical acclaim, winning numerous awards such as Best Play at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards. It offered a powerful look into how a modern generation interacts with their own history and what they owe to those who came before them.
Alongside the AIDS Memorial, López has reshaped his play to focus on one speech in a performance titled The Walter Project. The video project features actor and producer Glenn Close, singer Leslie Odom Jr., actor Russell Tovey, activist Jay Armstrong Johnson, dancer Robbie Fairchild, and so many more.
The Walter Project continues on a powerful legacy of remembrance expressed across the AIDS Memorial Instagram page. Since its launch in 2017, the page has created a virtual Quilt by sharing 7,000 stories and images of people who died due to AIDS/HIV related complications.
These stories offer numerous people an opportunity to commemorate the memory of those loved ones who died due to AIDS/HIV related complications. One person wrote, “I couldn’t save you back then dear brother, though I tried as hard as I could as we all did. But I can, 30 years later, extend a heart-string to you so that we can move forward together, spiritually, in a spirit of fraternal love and friendship.”
Another person addressed the lack of awareness around living with AIDS/HIV and how this impacted them, “I vaguely remember the night my uncle passed, the crying, the lack of explanation to 10-year-old me. His was the first funeral I’d ever been to and walking past his open casket alone still haunts me. I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself and Ii wish I’d had more hugs and laughter with my uncle, instead of allowing misconceptions and false information to keep us apart.”
The stories contained within the AIDS Memorial Instagram account are a heartbreaking and moving snapshot into the lived experience of people during the AIDS epidemic. On World Aids Day 2020, it’s important to remember what has come before in order to find a way forward.
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