Tag: African American men

The Scarlet Letter “A”

Most of us know someone who is either infected with HIV or someone who has passed from an AIDS related cause. Currently there are a little over 1 million people in this country living with HIV and tens of thousands of deaths every year. HIV is preventable but not curable (that’s debatable, but that’s a conversation for another day). Unlike 20-30 years ago, everyone now knows how to avoid contracting HIV. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised towards AIDS awareness and to develop a cure. Activists like Sheryl Lee Ralph throw benefit concerts every year (Diva’s Simply Singing!) and celebrities such as Elton John & Alicia Keys are everywhere lending their talents and their voice to the cause. There are AIDS walks in mostly every major city and July has even been designated as National HIV Awareness month. Not to mention the AIDS quilt that was created as a memorial to those who have died an AIDS-related death and the infamous red ribbon which is supposed to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS. With all of this publicity it’s hard for me to understand why there’s still such a stigma associated with having AIDS.

Now, get ready for what I’m about to say: I didn’t say all of this to say that I’m an AIDS advocate. I bring this up because I am at a lost as to why anyone would be ashamed to admit that they have HIV or AIDS. I find it odd that it’s only following a person’s death, family members will proudly announce their loved ones HIV status. I understand that people should be allowed to disclose their own HIV status, but in order to support this disease it’s important to know who has it & who doesn’t.

I know that there are still some very ignorant people out there that will discriminate based on HIV/AIDS status and some who just don’t understand the disease. But if you are proud enough to wear the ribbon, raise money for a cure or petition for health legislation then you should be proud enough to admit that you are carrying HIV or have full blown AIDS. Why be so shy about something that affects you personally? Why aren’t your friends & family members able to have an open discussion about your status with other people? Why is it so embarrassing to admit that you have AIDS when you’re living but it is okay to publicize names of people with AIDS on a quilt once their dead?

Don’t get it twisted; I am certainly not anti-AIDS even though I support other causes. But as an African American woman & who knows that African Americans are disproportionately affected (African American men in particular) I believe that I have the right to know if the man I’m dealing with is carrying AIDS. And since we can’t trust that everyone will be forthright if they are HIV positive, I’m all about that Scarlet letter “A”.


Talk to me; let me know your thoughts….


*For more information on AIDS awareness, visit: Black AIDS, AIDS or the CDC.

What’s The Point of Living A Long Life?

I think that living too long is pointless. Old & young people alike often say that they want to live to be 100 years old. But why?! What can you possibly do at 89 or 93 that you didn’t get done when you were 75 years old?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s nice to be able to boast about how long you’ve lived and all of the things you’ve seen in your lifetime, but there aren’t too many other advantages of old age. I just think that everything that you wanted to accomplish should have been checked off your list when you were younger.

We all know that once you pass a certain age, quality of life diminishes. So what good could it possibly do to live a life of diminished quality? There are so many things that go “south” as you get older. Everything from deteriorating health to losing your longtime friends (who are also very old). Even your own family members probably aren’t visiting you that much. Your grandchildren & great-grandchildren have a life of their own and may only see or call you on your birthday or around the holidays, at best. As you get older, you just can’t do as much as when you were younger. And that’s just the normal cycle of life.

Personally, I’m afraid to get old. I know that aging is inevitable, but I’m not looking forward to all of the physical ailments that come with the aging process. I don’t want to live too long for fear that I’ll lose relevancy in this world.

I’m more concerned about having a full life, not a long one…


Longterm Engagement Can Lead to Longterm Problems

So with the TV series of “Marrying the Game” ending, I started thinking about long-term engagements and I wondered why people stay engaged for long periods of time. No one should rush to propose but once you’re engaged, why lag?

The average engagement period in this country is between 1-1 1/2 years. What in the world takes so long to tie the knot? Sure, your dream wedding venue might be booked, you need to save money or other things come up but really – a year and a half engagement? It seems to me that the longer you take to plan the wedding, the more expensive it becomes. I know from personal experience the more time you give me to plan an event, the more things I’ll find to spend money on. Anyone who is engaged for longer than a year must not want to get married. If you are spending more time fussing over having the perfect venue or the cost of the wedding, than you are focusing on the wrong things.

But getting back to my point…on the television show “Marrying the Game”, the couple Tiffney and Jayceon were engaged to be married after dating on & off for 8 years. On the show, there were some issues that Tiffney felt needed to be addressed before walking down the aisle but at the end of the series the future of their relationship was unclear. It’s one thing to date for years & years on end but after breaking off an engagement there is no point in maintaining that relationship even with the purpose of “working on things”. Why call off an engagement unless you’re ready to call off the relationship?  Even if you think that your situation will change with time, people don’t change.

I think that long term engagements are ridiculous: Are you really hoping that your relationship will improve because you’ve changed the date of your wedding?