Sir Elton John has been hosting his infamous AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing party for well over two decades now, and we were lucky enough to catch up with him and David Furnish, on Oscar Sunday.
PPLA: How much have you raised for the Elton John Foundation?
EJ: I don’t know.
PPLA: Congratulations. And still lots to do.
EJ: Still lots to do. We’ve come an awful long way obviously I mean 27 years ago we never thought we’d be here. We never thought this… we’d come so far in treating this disease, but we still have a long way to go. We have to get the medicine to the people who need it, we have to get the price of the medicines down, and more importantly as I say every year to you guys, we have to get rid of the stigma. But you know we’re slowly battling away and I’m still confident in a few years’ time, we’ll see the end of this.
DF: It’s the alarming rise of new infections amongst the young that shouldn’t be happening because with the tools available today if you’re positive and you’re properly medicated, you don’t pass the virus onto someone else and if you’re at high risk, you can take (inaudible). But the trouble is, the stigma that Elton’s discussed, the lack of access to healthcare, lack of access to testing and treatment, you’re seeing a huge bump in new infections in young people…
EJ: Especially in the rural south of America, in the Afro-American community. Young, gay black men are really a problem area here. And if it carries on at least one in two gay African Americans will be infected with this disease and we do not want to see that.
During the auction lot for ROCKETMAN: an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John, Alexander Gilkes welcomed to the stage actor Taron Egerton, star of the upcoming motion picture film. Following a short preview of the trailer and a round of bidding on a trip to the London premiere of the film, the audience was taken by surprise when Gilkes asked Taron to sing one of Elton John’s songs. Only agreeing to the performance if Elton played the piano, guests were brought to their feet as they watched Elton John take his position on the keys while Taron belted out the lyrics to one of his most beloved ballads, “Tiny Dancer.” We have the live performance for you all here: