Avoidance

I’ve been absent for almost a year, but within that year has been so much growth. I needed the time away from this outlet, and now I’m back…

 

…What I wanted to touch on was how men (young and old) avoid discussions, dialogue, conversations, and more, if it somehow regards or is related to HIV/AIDS. It’s astonishing how the mentality of “if it does not affect me I don’t need to worry about it” is so common among our young boys and men. I’ve reached out to a few people of possible projects and collaborations, and I receive all the initial words of excitement. Once that conversation has ended though there is no follow-up. The project is avoided, they wash their hands, and keep it moving. This is the exact reason why in day-to-day discussions, groups, or men that I come across I make a concerted effort to throw HIV/AIDS into the mix. We don’t talk about it enough, and it was bad enough that I had a loved one call me earlier this year to inform me of their recent HIV test, which their first after being sexually active for 18 years! There are more young boys and men out here, who are sexually active and do not know their HIV status. That conversation sparked an idea, which turned into an all-male panel discussion. I was able to bring out Gene Elliot Thornton, Jr. (formerly known as Malice of the Clipse; now goes by “No Malice”). The discussion was fruitful, but more need to take place. I am energized and charged with a plethora of event ideas, so be on the look out for those events.

In learning more about myself, I’ve learned more about men and how certain cycles are continued without men even noticing. There’s male privilege, fear of isolation and loss, emotional illiteracy, and so much more that plagues the hearts and minds of boys and men of all walks of life.  This journey I am on has been eye opening and amazing. I just thank God for each and every day, but I thank God for right now. I have fingers to type, eyes to view a computer monitor, and a sane mind to form thoughts. The breathe of life is a gift, and if you are reading this you are a blessing to me. Peace and eternal blessings.

Gun Violence in NYC

The amount of gun violence that has been plaguing NYC as of lately has been really crazy. Just the other day a 34 year-old, mother of twelve children, Zurana Horton, was gunned down right outside of a school in Brooklyn. She was pregnant and chose to shield her child and neighboring children close by. I wanted to take the time out of my day to make sure her name is remembered, because not everyone would protect others as opposed to looking for their own survival.

I could hate on Al Sharpton and his insatiable appetite to always be in front of the cameras with his permed hair and shiny-suit, but we need other warriors to step into the forefront and do something radical. Cut off your hair, throw your suit in the trash, and be among the people in the neighborhoods where the gun violence is taking place. Approach brothers still attached to the umbilical cord of the block. They don’t go further than they have to, so they’re always going to be there out in the open.

I’m sure authorities are aware of the origin of these weapons, but it’s not at the top of their to-do-list. I am hopeful, and will continue to push myself to do the things that I can do as individual. You do the same.

A “Piece” of Me

Teach Me How To Paint
If you know me and know my testimony/story, then you know that my father passed away when I was four years-old. He was a great man with struggles that still plague the hearts and minds of individuals today. As much hurt and pain as he caused I always focus on the light that shined so bright. He was a devout Muslim, who taught himself how to read, write, and speak Arabic. He had strong genes (I look like I could be his younger brother). Most of all he could paint very well.

When he was going through a rough patch one of my aunts, who resides in NYC, bought one of his paintings for $100. I confirmed the price with my mother, because family often holds grudges with their own. We speak ever so often, but she happened to call me just the other day. She’s doing some spring cleaning, and have her whole house painted. She said that she was going to get rid of the painting, and wanted to ask me first, since it was my father’s piece. Without hesitation I said of course. Before I could even say that, though, she said that she wanted $200, for what she paid for (*shaking my head*). I didn’t even think too much about, but told her I’ll have the money ready for her.

I’ve wanted that painting for a long time, because I knew she never appreciated it as much as I did. Before I leave this earth I’ll be sure to learn how to paint, so I can create a piece that I hope to pass down myself. Even though my aunt’s neighbor wanted it I would’ve done anything and everything to make sure I would obtain that painting. Once I get it I’ll be sure to post a picture of it. Money isn’t even an issue. I just want the piece of me returned has been missing for far too long.

NYC Marathon 2011

ING Sponsored NY Road Runners Event

Like I said in my previous post I am not running this year, but I still run to stay in shape. I ran last year with these two ladies, and I would be remiss if I didn’t help them raise some money. It’s not easy raising $2,500 when you’re asking mostly family and friends. I’m not within the 1% of population that controls most of the wealth in this country, so it’s not all that easy. If you are able to please donate as much as you feel moved to donate to Maria A. Davis (internationally known HIV activist) and Victoria Carrera (Professional Trainer). They’re running for HarlemUnited, which is a community-based organization providing unique continuum of care. They integrate socially and economically disenfranchised people into a healthy and healing community. The majority of their clients are people living with HIV/AIDS. Stigma and barriers due to poverty, race, HIV status, sexual or gender identity are their enemies, but they are one of the few voices crying in the wilderness for those that are most often forgotten.

Please support my two strong sisters, and help support HarlemUnited:

Maria A. Davis

Victoria CarreraStarting across the Verrazano Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a while…

Sorry for neglecting my wordpress blog, but I’ve been super busy. I’m energized with all the new ventures that I’m embarking on, so you’ll see updates a lot more frequent. I originally started this to help spread the word to all my family and friends when I ran in the 2010 NYC Marathon. I’m not doing it this year, but I will definitely do it next year. I will shout out a few of my good friends that continue to run. I’ll leave that for another post though. Until my next post all I can hope and pray for is to inspire and heal, if not someone else, then most definitely myself!

Speak life…

Those that follow me on twitter know my motto: “Speak life. Tweet life.” In short, that just means you have full control of the words that leave your lips and your fingertips. The words you choose hold a lot of power. You could breathe life into someone or even death, so why not choose the former? That’s what I choose to do, especially when it comes to utilizing the social tool known as Twitter.

What I wanted to comment on is what DJ Cipha Sounds recently said during his normal morning show on Hot 97. Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg Show joined by K. Foxx. I listen to their show from time to time during incubation periods in the laboratory. It’s enough that Hot 97 always spotlights “a Puerto-Rican”, “a Black”, and “a Jew” in reference to DJ Cipha Sounds, K. Foxx, and Rosenberg, so let that set the tone for most of what is discussed during their morning show. As Cipha Sounds said it himself his comments were “tasteless and stupid”. What he said specifically was that the reason why he’s HIV negative is due to him not having sex with Haitian women.

Just as Family Guy, The Simpson’s, a plethora of Late Night Shows and comedy acts utilize many tasteless jokes people still felt that Cipha Sounds took it too far. I cannot disagree with the masses on this one. You have to think twice about the words you choose. From the looks of his indefinite suspension Cipha Sounds didn’t take too much time thinking before he made his comments.

First, let me say that it is comments like these that makes the work of HIV/AIDS activist that much harder. There is still a stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and this isn’t making it any better. HIV doesn’t seek out only Haitian women. It sees no race, religion, sexual orientation, or political party. All the virus looks for is an opportunity to find a new host. When you have unprotected sex you put yourself at risk for contracting HIV.

Second, I would not have jumped to see him fired. It’s a shame that people in general are always looking to see someone get fired. Cipha Sounds has a good heart. He made a mistake. What we should do instead is use him and this situation to help him grow as a radio personality/host, while at the same time educating the listeners to the severity of HIV/AIDS in our community. Not everyone thinks about helping someone else out.  All you see are politicians and community activists jumping at the opportunity to get a little shine while knocking the next man down.

In conclusion, I’m sure Cipha Sounds will keep his job at Hot 97 and will seek out the counseling to make sure that makes better decisions in the future. Just know that HIV is a still out there and there is no cure [yet]. The research is being done, vaccine trials are going through the proper phases, and anti-retroviral drugs are helping people living with the virus to live normal lives.

Always remember…”Speak life!” And if you tweet, “Tweet life!”