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I am sorry that we have become disconnected to the point where we don’t stop to think before we pass along hurtful memes, videos or news clips that expose our people suffering.I apologize that basic humanity is no longer present in this social media, disconnected world that we live in.We have to have the conversation(s) about things that aren’t pleasant as well.It’s the only way to know if what you share is real. At the end of the day, this story will give way to the next big news story.I am not excusing failure to disclose, I am simply pointing out the obvious. Living with disease, navigating dating and relationships with a diagnosis and trusting someone with that information has to be the highest level of risk out there. Others are also keeping the secret for whatever reason and by doing so, are infecting other people in our community at an extremely high rate. The statistics with STD’s and it’s impact on our community are real.We have to care enough about each other to have the honest discussion. We have to set aside our own discomfort to protect others.We have enough mess in our community to overcome, let’s not add to it by jumping on the popular mean-spirited bandwagon.
Let this be our Magic Johnson moment of truth on this topic.I believe it gives those telling someone else’s news, a moment where they don’t have to think about their own misery, ugliness, vulnerability or pain. You have this difficult moment to reflect and teach. All involved will find a way to keep going forward. The victims in your case will be a little more financially secure at your expense and though that doesn’t fix the life long condition, it certainly makes life a little easier for them.Confessing an incurable disease is risky for anyone, but exposing it as a celebrity has to be the scariest thing ever. People pay money for that kind of news story, whether you’ve infected someone or not in today’s “sell a celebrity story to TMZ for a check” climate. We have to talk about it openly and do forums that help ease the stigma and that provide a way to share the news safely. You, Usher, have an opportunity, like Magic Johnson did back in the day with his HIV diagnosis, to make people aware of the disease and impact lives. Use it to be brave, to stand up and to create something meaningful. You and all involved will bounce back and keep living. Again, millions upon millions of people have it, who never were given money to ease the pain or shame or give them the means to buy medications, pay bills or take a vacation to clear their head.Some clown (for lack of a better word) made a video recording of her at a gas station here in Atlanta, exposing her in one of her low moments. According to reports, she has a crack addiction and suffers from mental illness. And shame on everyone who shared it to get a “like”. The callousness in our people at times is beyond words.In the video, she is seen talking to the man recording and she tells him she wanted some “crack”. The “brotha”(dubbed a “male friend” in one article), added further insult to injury and said to Maia, “pump my gas” in pimp-like fashion, disparaging her further while continuing to record and mock her broken state. How the f*ck is addiction and mental illness funny? Did slavery, Jim Crow, lack of opportunity, lack of education, lack of nurturing and poverty make us into insensitive human beings?Do they not know that statistics show almost forty percent of African Americans have this disease and that almost fifty percent of black women have it? Do they not realize that if these numbers are true (and apparently they are), that when they post these articles and jokes on their page, they are shaming and making fun not just of you, but also some of their own friends and family members who are also suffering?These millions of sufferers didn’t get a million dollar check when it was given to them, they simply had to keep it moving and figure out how to live with it. And although not the same circumstance, I am reminded that just a week or two ago our people did the same with the Maia Campbell situation.And we have to hold those discussions in confidence on both sides.We have to care enough about our bodies to use protection especially, if we aren’t brave enough to talk about the elephant in the living room or ask for test results.It’s all about the “comments”, “likes” and the “check” one can potentially get from a story.Do the sharers of this news not realize that 1 in 6 Americans have herpes and that anyone can have it and not know because they are asymptomatic?