Hillary Clinton, Lena Waithe and Russell Tovey among dozens of stars uniting to deliver powerful message about HIV stigma

Russell Tovey Lena Waithe Hillary Clinton World AIDS Day

Hillary Clinton, Lena Waithe, Russell Tovey and many other famous figures have come together to deliver a powerful message about the pain and stigma endured by queer men throughout the AIDS epidemic.

The video, released to mark World AIDS Day on 1 December, features various famous figures reading sections from a monologue in the award-winning play The Inheritance, which examines love between gay men in New York in the post-AIDS generation.

In the Olivier-wining and Tony-nominated play, a character named Walter meets and falls in love with Henry as the AIDS epidemic hits, ravaging the city’s queer community.

In the monologue, Walter recounts how he turned their home into a makeshift hospice where queer men could die with dignity.

Playwright Matthew Lopez collaborated with the AIDS Memorial and the team behind the Broadway production of The Inheritance to create the powerful video, with 33 famous figures reading and performing a section of Walter’s speech, which occurs at the end of the first act.

Sharing the video on Instagram, the AIDS Memorial wrote: “To commemorate World AIDS Day, we have taken Walter’s speech at the end of Act One of The Inheritance, divided it into 33 sections, and asked friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to record themselves delivering a short section.

“We call the resulting video ‘The Walter Project’,” the AIDS Memorial added.

“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 also extend to those we have lost this year to COVID-19.”

Thank you. Two words said with my heart and soul.

The powerful video stars Hillary Clinton, Glenn Close, Lena Waithe, Ashley Park, John-Andrew Morrison, Connor Jessup, Marisa Tomei, Jordan E Cooper, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Wilson Cruz, Russell Tovey, Bill Irwin, Andrea Martin, Leslie Odom Jr, Cynthia Erivo, Michael Urie, Judith Light, Jesse Tyler, Tituss Burgess, Jocelyn Bioh, Malik Pancholy, Nathan Lane, Michael Zegen, Aya Cash, Raul Castillo, AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Smith, Denée Benton, Mandy Gonzalez, Robbie Fairchild, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Lucas Hedges.

The video has been inundated with praise from commenters since it was released on Monday (30 November), with many praising the famous figures for coming together to shine a light on the AIDS epidemic.

“Thank you. Two words said with my heart and soul, with my tears and prayers, and my love for every one of them,” one person commented.

Another wrote: “Oh the horror of it all. Looking back I don’t know where I drew my strength and energy to are for and to soldier on, but I did. But nothing compared to the indignity and abandonment and fear that my friends endured.”