When Jay Ellis of BET’s The Game isn’t being the star quarterback of the San Diego Sabers, he’s being an even bigger star off the field, lending his celebrity to some amazing causes. Recently, Ellis talked to BET.com exclusively about his support of amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research) and visual artist Shantell Martin’s new project supporting research for a cure for HIV/AIDS.
amfAR, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention and treatment education, has enlisted the help of Martin to spark conversation and raise awareness about AIDS research this summer. She created a beach towel designed with her trademark black-and-white illustrations and a quote which reads, “Be Epic, Cure AIDS.” It retails for $40, sold exclusively at Scoop NYC and amfAR’s website.
“I fully believe in amfAR's initiative to find a cure for AIDS by 2020," Ellis told BET.com. "I have never met a group of people more passionate about what they do than the people who work at amfAR. This isn't just a 'job' for them.”
Martin is celebrated for her unique illustrations on a large range of surfaces. She has had academic residencies at institutions such as Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and New York University.
“It’s an honor to work with amfAR. People will love our summer beach towel as we work towards raising funds to support the fight to find a cure for HIV,” Martin said.
Only one of many causes that he supports, Ellis plans to do more with his own foundation, too.
“I recently started the Jay Ellis Foundation to work with youth to lead productive lives through education, cultural experiences and scholarship opportunities. We will also work with veterans, members of the armed services and their families to provide support and education."
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(Photo: Marco Ovando)