Ring in the New Year with a legendary entertainer who broke racial boundaries and championed the HIV and LGBTQ communities, the iconic Dionne Warwick. On Sunday, January 1, CNN will debut the documentary Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over.
The film will air at 9 p.m. ET and PT and will then be available January 2 via CNN on Demand. It follows Warwick’s six-decade career, diving into the backstories of her megahits—“That’s What Friends Are For,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” to name a few—and also highlighting her activism for African-American, LGBTQ and HIV issues.
In listing the all-star lineup that appears in the documentary, CNN writes:
Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over blends archival footage with personal photographs and newsreels of Warwick’s career. Her grace, grit and singular talent are reflected upon in exclusive interviews with her sons, Damon and David Elliott; music legends Burt Bacharach, Clive Davis, Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb, Berry Gordy, Elton John, Cissy Houston, Quincy Jones, Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, Melissa Manchester, Olivia Newton-John, Smokey Robinson, Carlos Santana, Valerie Simpson and Stevie Wonder as well as commentary from former President Bill Clinton, philanthropist and designer Kenneth Cole, amfAR HIV/AIDS research advocate Kevin Frost and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Released at the end of 1985, her single “That’s What Friends Are For” ruled the charts the following year and raised over $3 million for HIV research and prevention for the organization now known as amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. The hit was actually a cover of a Rod Stewart song penned by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. On Warwick’s charity single, she was joined by friends Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. The song won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Here’s the video for the song:
“The royalties for ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ literally changed the trajectory of the epidemic,” amfAR CEO Keven Frost says in the documentary (watch the official trailer at the top of this article).
Directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner, the documentary premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. The directors “have created a beautiful tribute that shows the enduring impact of Dionne Warwick,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development for CNN Worldwide in a CNN press statement. “Her trailblazing, humanitarian legacy extends beyond her exquisite songbook, and she’s had a lasting cultural influence.”
In 2021, Warwick was honored with a star on the Palm Springs’ Walk of Stars for her career and advocacy work. To read more, see “You Can Count on Her, For Sure.” The POZ article dives further into her relation to HIV causes:
Early in the HIV epidemic, Warwick lost her valet to an AIDS-related illness. She was one of the first celebrities to publicly support HIV research and prevention.… In 1987, Warwick was appointed United States Ambassador of Health by President Ronald Reagan. (She once made Reagan say the word “AIDS.”) Her support for people living with HIV has been steadfast through the years. In 2017, she became a goodwill ambassador for ACRIA and released three public service announcements to raise awareness of HIV in adults over the age of 50—especially African-American women.
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