Blair Underwood: Fit, Fine & Focused On A Cure
Over the decades, Blair Underwood has thrilled audiences with suave and passion-filled roles on TV shows such as L.A. Law, The Event, and Sex and the City and movies like Set It Off, Deep Impact and Madea’s Family Reunion. The now 55-year-old even gets up close and personal in theatrical productions such as the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. And in Netflix’s Octavia Spencer-led limited series “Madam CJ Walker” adds Underwood and Tiffany Haddish to the cast that tells the story of the first Black female millionaire.
Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Marilyn Ann Scales, an interior decorator, and Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., a United States Army colonel. Because of his father’s military career, Underwood lived on bases and Army Posts in the United States and Stuttgart, Germany, during his childhood.
After his film debut, Krush Groove, Underwood’s 1985 appearance on The Cosby Show landed him a short stint on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live as Bobby Blue, which eventually led to his performance on the TV series L.A. Law, where he appeared from 1987 to 1994.
Many movies and TV shows later, behind the scenes, Blair has plays a different role: the impassioned activist on a mission to improve people’s lives, especially those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Through his years of work and awareness campaigns, Underwood has become one of the most powerful voices in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
It’s essential, Underwood says, to create “conversation and awareness” around this still-stigmatized disease. And one of the least publicized and understood aspects of HIV/AIDS is its effect on the nervous system, known as neuro-AIDS.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the Largest AIDS Service Organization in the world. Two years ago, they opened The Blair Underwood Center in Washington, DC which services everyone, accepts all insurance (and no insurance) and treats and prescribe medication right there at their pharmacy counter. Testers are nice, accurate, quick, and confidential. Washington, D.C., has the highest rate of HIV infection in the United States, at roughly 3 percent—which is higher than the infection rates in many parts of Africa. “It’s one of the most frustrating statistics,” Underwood says, “because this is not only in our country, but in our nation’s capital.”
“It’s too important,” says Underwood. “HIV and AIDS is now affecting everyone. It first started out being this…