Karen Ocamb

Magic Johnson on His Gay Son & the Black Community

Filed By Karen Ocamb | April 05, 2013 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: black community, coming out of the closet, EJ Johnson, LA Lakers, Magic Johnson, supportive parents

One could not live in Los Angeles in the early 1990s and not know about the LA Lakers. So when basketball great Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive in ej-johnson.jpg1991, the rafters and the ground beneath our feet shook. To many, he was the biggest star since Rock Hudson to come out as having the disease - about which there was tremendous fear and little hope. Johnson's wife Cookie was pregnant with their son EJ, but both mother and son were HIV negative. Johnson got on life-saving medications and went on to become an extremely successful businessman, form his own AIDS foundation and around 2005, partner with AIDS Healthcare Foundation to open a number of HIV clinics.

On Tuesday, TMZ interviewed EJ, 20, and his boyfriend as they were walking along Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. It's considered an official "coming out" - but anyone who glances at EJ's Twitter account (@prince_ej) where he writes: "Dear Twitter, I am fierce royalty and you better recognize. The concrete is my runway. forever fierce forever fabulous forever flawless. Beverly Hills," might suspect he's been gay for a while.

In an extensive interview with TMZ, Johnson says he's "proud" of his son - whom he asked directly whether he was gay when EJ was 12 or 13.

That would have been 2005. Doing some simple math, that means Magic Johnson knew three years before antigay Prop 8 passed in California that he had a gay son. Johnson did oppose Prop 8 and recorded a robo-call to California voters.

"This is Magic Johnson calling to ask you to join me and Barack Obama in opposing Proposition 8. Prop 8 singles out one group of Californians to be treated differently - including members of our family, our friends, and our coworkers. That is not what California is about. So this Tuesday, vote no on Proposition 8. It is unfair and wrong. Thanks."

The robo-call went out on Nov. 1, four days before the election. Considering the heartbreak and the long road to the Supreme Court where it is still unclear if the Court will rule Prop 8 is unconstitutional - there is a nagging disappointment that Magic Johnson didn't do more to speak out earlier and stronger in the black community against Prop 8. Why was it easier to be out about being HIV positive and not about being supportive of the gay community?

He gives us some clue in this interview.


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