Earlier this week, I had the privilege of going to the premiere of HBO’s Life Support. I was so thrilled to see AIDS on the Big Screen because I know people are STILL stuck on Philadelphia or Gia. I was happy to get to witness such a groundbreaking event. But while at the premiere, I witnessed something troubling—no, nothing to do with the movie, because it’s now at the top of Marvelyn’s must-see list. I’m talking about the red carpet before the screening. Boy, was it brutal.
I watched stars like Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Russell Simmons and Traci Ellis Ross walk down the red carpet, and it was funny-- it became really clear that HIV was not on any of the reporters’ minds. Though this might seem biased, I felt like the only people talking about HIV were Real Health and POZ! I witnessed reporters receiving a page full of facts about HIV and having just one second to look at it before beginning their interviews. Thanks to the kindness of queenlatifah.com and Inside Edition, we finally found our place on the red carpet after being pushed and trampled over by the likes of Google Video. I watched the reporters call over celebrity after celebrity—while Andrea Williams, the woman who the story is based on, walked back and forth unnoticed.
I could not help but to run my mouth because the silence was killing me. (You know I can’t keep quiet.) I began talking to the reporters and telling my status. I explained to them the importance of getting the message of HIV across to their viewers. I also let them know that they could use POZ as a resource and answered any questions that they had. I was not at all trying to steal the show. But I needed to let them know that Life Support is not only just a movie—it is my reality and the reality of millions who live with this disease.
Trust and believe; speaking up made a difference.
While Inside Edition was interviewing Jamie Foxx, the reporter turned and introduced me to him, telling him my status. Jamie Foxx’s reaction was remarkable. He explained that this is why he chose to produce this film. Then came the Queen and strangely enough she recognized me from BET. I was shocked; my first thought was, “Hey, I recognize you too!”
She really did her research for her character, and she thanked me and other positive people who served as her inspiration in making this film. I knew at that moment – standing on a red carpet in blistery 23-degree weather, being thanked by Queen Latifah—
what the meaning of Life Support was for me. Those two words, ‘life’ and ‘support’ apply to everyday life, whether they are together or separate. As long as you have life, you will need support. And that is okay.