National AIDS Initiative Launches World AIDS Day Premiere of New Play and ‘Rock the Red’ Campaign to Engage African Americans in HIV / AIDS



ATLANTA – (BUSINESS WIRE) – In recognition of World AIDS Day, December 1st, the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC), an initiative of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the world’s largest non-profit public health organization tackling the HIV / AIDS epidemic, uses the power of the arts and social media to raise awareness of the HIV / AIDS epidemic and its disproportionate impact on black Americans.

The group partners with the Inglewood (CA) Pacific chapter of The Links, Inc. to roll out a nationwide campaign entitled “Rock the Red” to specifically involve African-American women in the impact of HIV / AIDS. BLACC will also, in partnership with Rolling Out Magazine and the Atlanta-based Horizon Theater Company, bring the premiere of the theatrical production to the virtual stage, Love, M., to provide an opportunity to engage and educate individuals from all backgrounds about the impact of stigma and shame and the power of love and true acceptance.

Rock the Red – Launch on December 1st, The Links, Inc. Inglewood (CA) Pacific Chapter in partnership with BLACC have engaged a diverse array of national African American women leaders for a social media campaign to raise awareness about the impact of the HIV / AIDS epidemic on African American women; and to encourage them to make an individual commitment to know their status, to be tested and to take control of their health and well-being. The campaign launch will feature an array of high-profile African American women, including award-winning actor, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the national president of The Links, Inc. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard and acclaimed actor, choreographer and producer Debbie Allen. Using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the campaign is calling on women to get involved in 4 easy steps:

1) Find something red to wear;

2) Take a selfie in their red;

3) Make a commitment statement as to why she is doing “the red thread” against HIV / AIDS

4) Post it on their social media channels and share it with their networks using the hashtag #RocktheRed

Premiere of Love, M. Horizon Theater Company and BLACC have come together to bring to the virtual stage Love, M.., a powerful story about mothers, sons and AIDS activists during the early days of the AIDS crisis. The free virtual premiere will play actor and activist Lamman Rucker from the television series Green leaf and actor and Broadway icon Terry Burrell.

Using a clever mix of Southern humor and family love as a framework, Love, M. takes listeners on a journey of what it means to accept yourself and your loved ones as they really are. Told by letters, Love, M. by Clarinda Ross is the story of two mothers at the beginning of AIDS. White Atlanta socialite Deborah is writing to her son Chris, who is pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. Myrtle (Terry Burrell), a Black Southern Baptist, writes to her son, Timothy (Lamman Rucker), an idealistic young lawyer. Playwright and actor Clarinda Ross plays Deborah, and Atlanta actor Chris Hecke returns to Horizon as her son, Chris.

From Georgia to San Francisco, love is never easy, but it is always a force to be reckoned with. As spectators enjoy the play, they will withdraw the intricate layers of a mother-son relationship. This idea of ​​all-encompassing love, along with the history behind the AIDS Memorial Quilt, serves as the backdrop for a story that traverses states, beliefs and generations. With humor and humanity, Love, M. weaves the lasting threads of the healing power of love as the characters work their way to acceptance.

The evening includes the play and, in collaboration with unroll Health IQ, a post-show community talk led by award-winning journalist Patrick L. Riley with guest Lamman Rucker; Dr. Shalondra K. Crawford, the noted Los Angeles psychologist; Dr. Daniel Black, assistant professor of African and African American studies at Clark Atlanta University; and Daniel Driffin, Co-Founder of THRIVE SS and Chairman Emeritus of The Young Black Gay Men’s Leadership Initiative (YBGLI).

Love, M. premieres December 1 at 7 p.m. For information on how to attend the virtual festivities, visit horizontheatre.com/love-m.

To deepen education and awareness of the disproportionate impact of HIV / AIDS among Black Americans, AHF founded the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) in 2014 to create a coalition of Black American cultural influencers and health advocates, through innovative, culturally relevant messages and initiatives are revolutionizing the reach of the black American community and raising the education and awareness of sexual health and wellness and raising awareness of the social justice issues disproportionately impacting the health and wellbeing of black Americans.

BLACC members and supporters speak directly to our community to encourage sexual responsibility and to keep HIV / STI prevention and treatment, and those advocacy issues influencing the rise of the epidemic, at the top of the national Black American agenda .

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC), black Americans represent 13% of the US population, but more than 40% of new HIV diagnoses.

For more information about BLACC or AIDS Healthcare Foundation, visit aidshealth.org.


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