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Review: Me, Myself & HIV

Posted on February 1, 2011 by in Features, Noteworthy

Directed by Alex Stockley and Tom Barry
Firecracker Films/Staying Alive Campaign

Angelikah. Photo Courtesy MTV Networks International

No videos, no VJs, and no celebrity headliners marked this year’s World AIDS Day, as MTV and its grantmaking Staying Alive Campaign decided to unplug itself for one hour from its normal sexy venues in an effort to abate harmful stereotypes and to encourage twenty-something hipsters to empower themselves by taking an enlightened approach to HIV. Producers feel that at-risk youth, by talking openly about the virus, self-policing their own sexual behaviors, and getting tested, have a better chance of dodging the bullet of this insidious disease. Airing on December 1, “Me, Myself & HIV” was the latest effort from the entertainment behemoth’s department of social responsibility (yes, this corporate configuration actually exists!) to put money to mouth in its global commitment toward ending the spread of HIV/AIDS among its ripe and savvy viewership.

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,

Paul Banda (Slim). Photo Courtesy MTV Networks International

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

Sean Black may be contacted through his Web site at www.seangblack.com.

January 2011

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