Review: Me, Myself & HIV
Directed by Alex Stockley and Tom Barry
Firecracker Films/Staying Alive Campaign
In a self-narrated documentary, two straight-identified youths, twenty-one-year-old Slim and twenty-five-year-old Angelikah, residing in Zambia and the U.S. respectively, each openly discuss their HIV-positive status and give snippets of how they navigate the turbulent waters of normalcy under these conditions. Tension builds around several key issues. The first is when hopeful musician Slim announces his status over the air waves and is publicly backed by African celebrity rapper Slapp Dee who, without skipping a beat, states, “rappers talk about dealing drugs and bustin’ guns. They don’t talk about HIV and that kind of discussion is really necessary.” Followed by Angelikah, who grips the hand of her noticeably anxious boyfriend Taylor through a nail-biting HIV test performed at a local clinic.
With both stories planted within the sidelines of the expected trademarks of its highly iconic broadcaster—dancing,dating, deejaying and dreaming—the characters manage to endear themselves in a plausibly powerful manner that echoes Slim’s message: “Stay positive about your future if you are positive and don’t be negative if you are negative.”
Sean Black may be contacted through his Web site at www.seangblack.com.