Red Ribbon Launched
Visual AIDS, working with Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS, launch the Red Ribbon at the 45th Annual Tony Awards broadcast by CBS from the Minskoff Theatre on June 2, 1991. The Tony Awards were chosen as a way to communicate the extent that this epidemic was affecting members of their own community—artists and performers. Host Jeremy Irons worn the red ribbon, but guests and presenters were specifically asked not to speak directly about what the ribbon meant at the event. This lead to a rush of media curiosity. The red ribbon became an overnight phenomenon and an international symbol of AIDS awareness that was seen on celebrities, musicians, athletes, artists and politicians on talk shows, TV programs, movies, political conventions, sporting events and music videos.
The red ribbon was the creation of the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, a group of artists that came together in the Spring of 1991 to create a meaningful symbol at the height of the AIDS crisis. It was intentionally created without a copyright, to allow it to be worn and used widely as a symbol in the fight against AIDS, and continue to be an international symbol of AIDS awareness and a design icon.