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Katy Perry Honored With amfAR Award Of Courage For Support Of HIV/AIDS Research
GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Katy Perry may be best known for her music, with catchy hits like "Dark Horse," "Swish Swish" and "California Gurls," but she is also a passionate advocate and activist. On Oct. 18, the popstar was honored with the amfAR Award of Courage for her ongoing support and advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
At the 2018 amfAR Gala Los Angeles, an annual star-studded fundraising event for amfAR's work to end HIV/AIDS through scientific research, Perry gave a passionate acceptance speech, critiquing the non-accepting community she grew up in and acknowledging her queer fans and honoring their courage.
"Today I understand that a courageous life is the only one worth living. I come from a Bible-thumping background that wasn’t particularly open or accepting of curiosity," she said. "I may not have known it then, but daring to ask questions and redefine right and wrong when everybody around me spoke in absolutes was my first attempt at a courageous life."
She continued, "To my LGBTQ-plus family who is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, I've always felt such a deep connection to, and gratitude for your bravery to live your authentic truth. It's a gift to all of us and you deserve to be safe, seen and celebrated."
With support from Perry and others, the gala alone raised $1.7 million for the charitable organization, which, with the Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, is working to develop a cure by 2020. The evening also honored TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie and featured performances from GRAMMY-nominated "Goldfinger" singer Shirley Bassey.
In addition to being a longtime supporter of AIDS/HIV research, Perry was also given the UNICEF Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award in 2016 and has been a Goodwill Ambassador with the organization since 2013. She has donated to causes near to her heart over the years, including in 2011 when she donated $175,000 of proceeds from her California Dreams Tour to 50 non-profit organizations.