Taraji P. Henson Says You Can Help the AIDS Crisis by Buying Lipstick

See her new campaign for MAC Viva Glam with Empire co-star Jussie Smollet.

Cosmetics brand MAC has long been a pioneer of HIV/AIDS fundraising. Started in 1994, MAC's AIDS Fund and Viva Glam campaigns were revolutionary in confronting HIV/AIDS (which was stigmatized at the time) and giving 100 percent of the proceeds to those affected by the disease. After over 20 years and a dozen or so campaigns later, MAC's Viva Glam campaign still lives on. To date, the campaign has raised over $450 million for the cause. Empire costars Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollet star in the newest campaign. Below, the best quotes from the duo's interview with

(Photo: MAC)
(Photo: MAC)

Taraji P. Henson: It’s such an honor to be working on the legendary VIVA GLAM campaign. So many people believe that HIV/AIDS is no longer because of the amazing medications and advancements in preventing and treating the disease. But I want people to know that we cannot become complacent or have a lazy attitude — because it’s still affecting people today — especially African-Americans. The more we talk about it, the more awareness we are bringing to the public. When the public sees faces like mine and Jussie’s, who are free enough to talk about these issues, we hope it encourages them to do the same and feel more comfortable doing so.

Jussie Smollet: It’s sorta funny because makeup can seem completely shallow and superficial. But in actuality when you look at the good that MAC is doing by giving every single penny of the sales of VIVA GLAM to help people affected by HIV/AIDS — it’s really opening people up and giving a new spotlight to this issue.

TPH: MAC makes it cool to talk about HIV/AIDS by coupling it with makeup. I hope MAC can inspire other big companies to make big changes for the greater good. We’re all in this fight together!

JS: If you contract HIV/AIDS, you’re still able to live a wonderful, full life and there are places and people and beauty companies who will help you — however we don’t want you to contract it. 

TPH: HIV/AIDS is completely preventable and if you want to help, all you have to do is buy a lipstick.


Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.