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World Aids Day 2010: A salute to Rae Lewis Thornton

You never know how someone can affect your life, I met Rae Lewis Thornton when I was 14 years old!

You never know how someone can affect your life, I met Rae Lewis Thornton when I was 14 years old! To give you the long and the short Rae came to my HS to speak to the students about AIDS, she  walked into our auditorium and she asked a question that resonates with me even in my adulthood…  Rae asked “Do you want to fuck me?” At that time Rae was a young woman( I believe 32 at the time), she was gorgeous and looked like she had it all, so immediately all the men said “Hell Yeah”! Rae then went on to tell them that she had AIDS, the room immediately fell silent. I remember as a teen sitting there listening to Rae’s every word, never in my life had I paid so much attention in an assembly.  As Rae ended her speech, I remember saying to myself I have to meet her, so one by one as my friends headed back to class I headed to the front to say hi.  I remember my friends looking at me and saying you are going to hug her, she has AIDS? Looking back now even then I was fearless, it was finally my turn to meet Rae and what I loved about her more than anything was her REALNESS, Rae didn’t hold anything back and that’s why I love her!

When they say God puts people in your life for a reason, that is so true! I was 14 years old when Rae(she’s even my namesake) first strutted into  my life who knew those Christian Louboutin heels would strut back into my life 15 years later the only difference, I’m grown now..

Rae is not only a DIVA, but she is an activist often times giving us a play by play on what it’s like living with AIDS through her tweets and on her blog. Rae shares so much of her life (somethings I’m not even sure I would be able to share) but again that’s why I love her. I’m proud of the work she is and has done, she’s constantly giving people the facts about this disease and we all need to listen!

I don’t think Rae knows how profoundly her speech affected me but it’s part of the reason I’m HIV Negative today!!

I know my status, do you???

Go get tested and remember to protect yourself!!

To Rae, I love you, you are the DIVA I aspire to be… Keep doing what you do the way you do, I’m so proud of you!!! I’m so glad I call you friend!!

About the author

Raijean Stroud

Fashion, beauty & lifestyle blogger based in Chicago and founder of, Swa-Rai Media Group and Bleeding Heart Project. Launched in 2010, Swa-Rai discusses a range of topics including: fashion, beauty and lifestyle experiences which includes travel, tech, family, dining and so much more! When not in Chicago, Raijean can be found traveling around the country covering some of the hottest events! She can be spotted in places such as New York for covering events such as Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show), LA for Lucky FABB and more! When she's not traveling she's in Chicago, interviewing celebrities and covering exclusive events.

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