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25 August 2006

Comments

Bobby

I don't know who the host of that show is (a white guy named Terry Moran), but it's obvious that he's unfamiliar with, frustrated with, and a bit hostile toward Black America. That's my personal assessment. Nevertheless, he clearly articulated what the rest of the world thinks of us.

First, he interviewed Jesse Jackson and basically embarrassed Jesse Jackson in front of the entire world: "You've positioned yourself as a leader in the black community. AIDS in Black America happened on your watch. Why have you said nothing about AIDS? Do you think it's because you were promiscuous yourself and that you'd therefore look like a hypocrite for telling people not to engage in behavior that you engaged in yourself?" Jesse GAGGED! The look on his face was PRICELESS as he stuttered through his non-answer.

Then, the host talked to a few black church leaders and they specifically called TD Jakes out (I mean, they took TD to TASK) for his absolute REFUSAL to discuss HIV and AIDS. The host said, "So the black community would rather die than to discuss sexuality and AIDS?" (He was prone to sweeping generalizations about blacks). One pastor cautioned white America to understand that "what happens to a segment of society eventually effects the whole of society." So their ideas that AIDS is now a "black problem" and can therefore be ignored will result in their destruction as well as ours.

But the most biting remarks came at the end when the host pulled no punches during his end-of-show summary. He put Black America on BLAST by saying something to the effect of (I'm paraphrasing): "Unless Black America gets some leadership, stops their immoral and dangerous sexual behavior, renounces their worship of misogyny and materialism, abandons their tradition of silence, and conquers their anti-homosexual bigotry, they're [emphasis mine] doomed." I choked on that statement because of who said it and how it was said: "They're--them; those monkeys over their ruining my society." It stung, but it also rang true.

Did anyone else watch it? If so, what did you think?

TheRevKev

MARK...

BROTHER MAN, YOU JUST ANSWERED YOUR OWN STATEMENT WITH BRILLIANCE!

IF ONLY SOCIETY WOULD GET RID OF ITS STIGMATIZATION OF HOMOSEXUAL SEX (NOT RELATIONSHIPS, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT THE PART THAT MAKES THEM ERUPT WITH SUCH FEAR), THEN THE STIGMA ON THE BROTHER WHO "JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE TO GIVE HIMSELF THE PLEASURE" OF THAT SEX WOULD BE LESS.

HOWEVER, I REFUSE, VEHEMENTLY I MIGHT ADD, TO ALLOW THE SUBJECT OF HOMOSEXUALITY, GAY SEX, SAME GENDER LOVING AFFECTION, TO CLOUD THE GREATER ISSUE OF FIDELITY!!!

IF PEOPLE ARE IN COMMITTED RELATIONSHIPS (AND YES IF YOUR PARTNER DOESN'T KNOW THAT YOU ARE TIPPING OUT, AND YOU ARE TALKING ALL THE RIGHT TALK, THEY THINK YOU ARE COMMITTED TO THEM!!!!), YOU DON'T GET TO USE THE EXCUSE OF YOUR OWN NEEDS TO GO OUT AND ENDANGER YOUR PARTNER, HOMOSEXUAL OR HETEROSEXUAL!

WE CAN'T JUST ACT LIKE WE ARE ANIMALS WHO DON'T KNOW HOW TO CONTROL OUR DESIRES AND OUR URGES. IF YOU ARE WANT SEX OUTSIDE OF YOUR MARRIAGE, THEN YOU SHOULDN'T BE MARRIED. I KNOW THAT IT SOUNDS ANTIQUATED, BUT SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING ONCE ABOUT CAKE AND THE ABILITY TO EAT IT TOO!

I MEAN IF YOU AND YOUR WIFE, GIRLFRIEND, ET AL, HAVE AN OPEN AND INFORMED CONVERSATION ABOUT OPENNESS AND SWINGING AND DOING YOUR OWN THINGS, THEN THAT'S GROWN FOLKS BUSINESS. BUT I HAVE MET MANY A DUDE WHO CALLS HIMSELF "BISEXUAL" WHO INFORMS ME OF THAT, BUT HE NEVER BOTHERED TO INFORM HIS WIFE. IT'S JUST NOT LOVING.

AND THEN, IN SOME OF THESE CASES, TO NOT PROTECT ONE'S SELF BECAUSE TO DO SO WOULD BE TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE HAVING THE VERY SEX THAT YOU are ALREADY HAVING, IS JUST INSIDIOUS.

I LOVE EVERY BLACK MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD ON THE PLANET AND I JUST WANT US TO BEGIN TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION THAT WILL SAVE OUR NATURAL LIVES!

IF A BROTHER IS ON THE DL, THEN BLESS YOU MAN. BUT PICS AND DICKS ONLINE WHILE YOU ARE LYING TO YOUR WIFE DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY BUY MY SYMPATHY, BECAUSE SHE IS MY SISTER!!!

I DON'T WANT TO STIGMATIZE ANYONE BACK INTO ANY CLOSET. BUT IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR WIFE, YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LIVING, THEN YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH THE STIGMA AT LEAST IN YOUR HEAD, AND ACT ACCORDINGLY!

ONE OF THE BROTHERS SAID LAST NIGHT THAT HE KNEW THAT HE WAS POSITIVE AND DIDN'T SHARE IT FOR A YEAR! THAT'S SAD ON SO MANY LEVELS AND I OVERSTAND EACH ONE OF THEM: SHAME, FEAR, STIGMA, ISOLATION, DENIAL. EACH OF THESE HAS BECOME A BENCHMARK IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. WE HAVE BEEN SHALLOWING SAME IN AMERICA SINCE THE MASTER CAME AND TOOK OUR DAUGHTERS INTO HIS BEDROOM AND TRIED TO TAKE OUR SONS IN THE BARN! I GET THAT!

BUT WE ARE A FREE PEOPLE NOW AND WE ARE FREE TO LOVE EACH OTHER AND FREE TO MAKE THE CONVERSATION HAPPEN AMONG OURSELVES! WE ARE OUR OWN SOCIETY AND WE ARE ASKING "SOCIETY" TO DO WHAT "WILL AND GRACE" and "THE L WORD" and "QUEER AS FOLK" AND SO MUCH VISIBILITY HAS ALREADY DONE FOR WHITE GAY CULTURE. IT HAS BEEN NORMALIZED TO THE POINT THAT THEIR NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN EVERY YEAR IN HIV/AIDS AND THEY HAVE FOLDED UP THE QUILT.

YET, WE, BLACK FOLKS, STILL DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH E. LYNN HARRIS NOVELS (UNLESS THERE'S A PROMINENT DL CHARACTER), NO PRESENCE ON MAINSTREAM TV AND NO OUT AND PROUD ATHLETES, ACTORS OR SINGERS ON A NATIONAL PLATFORM (LOVE YOU MUCH BILLY PORTER!).

WE ARE WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR AND WHEN WE GET THAT AND START MAKE THE SOCIETY WE DESIRE, WE WILL STOP LOOKING FOR OTHERS TO DO FOR US WHAT WE ARE not DOING FOR OURSELVES--LOVING EACH OTHER TO LIFE INSTEAD OF SHAMING EACH OTHER, TO DEATH!

Every Sunday I preach, for my life, and for the lives of each lesbian, gay man, transperson, heterosexual, Black, White, Latin and Biracial person in my congregation. I delve into the Bible and the true word and work of Jesus and still people struggle with that because we have SUCH SHAME around what we were TOLD about the Bible, that we barely and rarely, in large numbers, do the WORK TO SHOW OURSELVES APPROVED!

"I don't want to go to that Gay church" is as much of a choice as deciding not a wear a condom, in that each is a continue noninvestment in the Life of Self.

One day, and I pray that it is soon, we will stop listening to the voices in our heads and start giving some attention to The Voice in Our Heart.

GOD IS LOVE AND LOVE IS FOR EVERYONE and

IT'S MY SEASON AND I'M DUE!!!

Love,
Rev. Kevin E. Taylor
Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick, NJ

Bahain Heat

I watched the program last night and my emotions ran from sad to angry to hopeful. The fact that our leaders (political & religious) could not directly make a committment to speak out about their own prejudice and hate against same gender loving people made me sad.

I was happy to see Jessie and Jakes trying to BS their way around the question about why no national black leaders from the church were making AIDS in America a priority. Ted Koppel or Peter Jennings wouldn't let them off that easy. Where was Ms. Oprah? hmmmm

I also agree with the previous post that it is unfortunate that many of us in the Black Gay community think it is normal to go on chat lines and the internet to have sex without knowing anything more than body parts. Dick, ass, waist size are more important topics of discussion than emotional or spritual connections. No preachin ...just saying. Now it is normal to meet someone on the phone or A4A and hook up. It use not to be normal...that use to be called a slut. The Raw thing is growing. Black straight women are so hungry for a black man with a job that they allow men to have sex with them without a condom. That is a whole other story.

We must take control again and stand as the proud warriors we once were. Our filmmakers, entertainers, politicians but most importantly our family and friends have to start understanding that we want to be loved too, however, we must clearly demonstrate that we love ourselves first.

The hope is that enough black people saw the show and will be called to action on an individual level. Talk to the kids and young adults, speak to our friends and relatives, support our own HIV organizations that are seriously trying to change the rise in the rates....and I am not talking about those that throw the best free parties either. There is alot of work to be done. At least ABC and Peter Jennings and his daughter used their power to put it out there as it is. Now it is up to the rest of us. Thanks Rod.

Gil

'cuz people don't care and are irresponsible. stigma and all that stuff be damned. I have a bf. I sleep with women once in a blue moon. full disclosure on both sides of the fence, and get tested regularly. 'cuz that's the responsible way to do it. yea your boys will think you're a punk... but f*ck 'em for thinkin' that.

Nevin

I think we watched the "same" program, but, based on Rod's assessment, I am not certain.

First, let me state (in case you have not figured this out by now) that I categorically disagree with Rod's assessment. I did not leave this program with the impression that the moderator, Terry Moran, had any particular hostility towards Black America. Granted, he may have had some level of unfamiliarity and frustration with a culture that would allow this to happen and apparently continue to make excuses for it. But, I feel that if he truly had any hostility or contempt for the community in general, he would not have felt it necessary to participate in the program at all.

Yes, he called Jessie Jackson on the carpet for failing to show any leadership in the midst of this horrific crisis. Jessie was directly asked how this could happen on his watch and astoundingly his reaction epitomized what the moderator had pointed out earlier. Black leaders and Black celebrities only deal with AIDS as a global crisis, but they continually refuse to even acknowledge that there is a crisis in their on backyards. Jessie's response to Terry's question immediately attempted to refocus the issue on AIDS in Africa, when the question had absolutely nothing to do with Africa.

Yes, he asked T.D. Jakes about what the Black church is doing to address the crisis and, unfortunately (but, predictably), he too came up short. Jakes stuttered something about the community having too many issues all at once and there not being any Biblical teachings to deal with the issue of AIDS. Give me a break!! If the Black church would stop spending so much time on condemnation, and just slightly more time on love and redemption, they might be able to see where Jesus talks about loving your neighbor as yourself and do onto others… But, this is a subject for another day.

In addition, I need to point out, in the programs defense, that leadership in general was shown as having failed this community. It was pointed out that the Clinton administration was on the heels of enacting a "clean needle" program just prior to the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, but, due to political pressure and a change in focus, the issue died. It was also pointed out that the Bush administration has literally done nothing to address this crisis. As a matter of fact, they showed that during the 2004 vice presidential debate the candidates (Dick Cheney, who was at the time the existing Vice President, and John Edward, who was at the time an existing Senator) were completely uninformed regarding this issue. And, again, let's remember that this is a "crisis."

I guess my biggest problem with Rod's assessment is just the insinuation of "how dare this white man judge the Black community?" When are we as a community going to wake up? We are offended when Black people question how we are living (remember the Bill Cosby controversy?) and we are up-in-arms when white people question us; so, exactly when are we accountable?

At some point, we need to be honest with ourselves and stop redirecting the issue by attempting to shoot the messenger. We are in crisis!! Does it really matter how it is brought to our attention?

Nevin

I have to apologize. I do not disagree with Rod's assessment; I disagree with the comment's made by Bobby.

Rod Mc

Hello.

Rod McCullom here.
I was about to say Nevin, it sounds like we both are on the same side. ;)

This was a brilliant piece of journalism. Terry Moran is a reporter's reporter. He did his job.

If black men, women, gay men, and leaders were on point, he wouldn't have to point it out.

11

"Why do so many straight and gay black men have unprotected sex? And, why do so many straight black women practice unsafe sex?" - Rod

Because folks aren't futuristic thinkers. Many of us focus on right now. And right now our concern is feeling good, not our longterm health.

RICKY ROSS

OOOOOhhhh my GOD am I so exhausted with these bi-
annual/annual documentaries and dressed up "sob" exploits. AIDS is not at a roundtable in some healthclinic, hospice, or studio set.

Take footage from the IBM employee, the college co-ed, the teenager doing laps around the track, the mother buying groceries at the market, the preacher firing up the pulpit, the police officer on the beat, the nurse in the ER, the high commisioned realtor in the Hills, the construction worker welding steel, the inmate on the yard, the teacher doing algebraic equations etc. etc.

I wish they would stop this fear tactic in the media. Prevention
is the biggest weapon against senseless AIDS infection rates and whether you agree or not mandatory testing(every state has Public Health and $$$$ that could be used for testing of all persons 18-40).

I heard Congresswoman Maxine Waters address this issue on a syndicated radio show this week. She is fed up with the bureaucratic genocide and cited that the prisons are a virtual breeding ground(trade 4 pay when released on most cruise routes in any urban city) for HIV infections. However, in her call for the black community to get their heads out of the sand. She failed to mention the depression, low self-esteem, racial related angst, self-worthlisness, sexual obsession, and sex/drugs hip-hop glamorized hedonism that spins through our communities(all of them "hood" and the "hills").

WE NEED TO USE CONDOMS FOR SEX ALWAYS/HAVE RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN BODY/INVITE GOD AND NOT THE ENEMY INTO YOUR SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS(the devil REALLY wants you to get it and spread it)

BAREBACKING IS GOOD
WHEN THERE'S A CURE
OR IF YOU'RE 100,000% SURE!!!


Stuffed Animal

The "Primetime" special was well-meaning, but it lacked depth. Too little time allotted to cover a very complex issue. I wish there had been some Black correspondents. TD Jakes'comments were disgusting! How dare he call himself a Christian minister? Calvin Butts' remarks were exactly on point.

Just in case you think the Black community is the only one whose response to AIDS is screwed-up, take a look at what some White "AIDS educators" are preaching these days. Just wait 'til you read this article from planetout.com. It will uncurl your hair and curl it all over again!

http://planetout.com/health/hiv/?sernum=3254&navpath=/topics/health/hiv/redribbon/


Raheem1252

This is what I sent to ABC:

Terry Moran

I want to thank you for completing the story Peter Jennings started “Out of Control: AIDS in Black America”. I thought the program did a good job in focusing on the fact that the Black church and the Black leadership are NOT putting any effort into organizing support for this gigantic problem. TD Jakes looked like a FOOL. When TD Jakes was asked why the church leadership is not speaking out, Jakes response was something to the effect of there not being a blue print in the Bible regarding this issue. Please! Isn't there a blue print in the Bible about helping people...saving lives?

And Jesse Jackson was even more disappointing. He did the stereotypical "blame it on someone else" as he tried to say that Bush hasn’t done anything to combat the problem. That may be true, but your job as a "supposed leader" in the Black community is to galvanize an effort to MAKE Bush so something.

As a Black Gay Man, I have seen first hand how the church preaches against homosexuality. They “force” Black gay men to “pretend” to be straight. So many gay Black men get girlfriends, fiancées, and wives, while still dating and sleeping with other men.

I appreciated the fact that you were not easy on Jesse Jackson or T D Jakes. Jakes has a congregation of 30,000 people every Sunday in Dallas alone. This does not include all the people he reaches on TV, through his videos and books, and through his “high paying” speaking engagements. Yet, he refuses to seriously address the issue.

I hope that you will follow-up this issue with a story within a year. If nothing has changed, I would love to see the likes of Jakes and Jackson really put on the coals of the fire regarding their lack of accountability toward their own community.

Thank you again,

Raheem

Mel Smith

Wow! All of the comments were great. Nice letter Raheem

Derek Stewart

Black gay men are in the midst of an ELLE (extinction level event) but we are to busy partying, going to the gym and being fabolous to do the work that needs to be done. I was at a party this weekend and at a table with a bunch of young men. I spoke frankly to them and implored them to take care of themselves and each other. I outlined all the dimensions of the impending cataclysm soon to befall black gay men. I told them that in five years the hospitals will be full of them. I forecast that these young men in the hospital will have 5 T cells and a host of opportunistic infections and many of them will not leave. I practically begged them to take heed, be tested and always practice safe sex and in spite of all this I felt that I was speaking to a brick wall. They were polite, and somewhat attentive and from their reactions I may as well have been talking about Tyra's gown at the Emmy's and not a epidemic raging in their ranks. It's as if we black gay men suffer from a form of self destructive nihilism almost to the point of it being genetic. I frankly don't know what to do at this point except keep my black suit pressed and ready for slew of funerals I will be attending.

Frances

I have had a headache since viewing this documentary. I am not a tv person, but received a call to watch it. I appreciate the issues it raised about something that is having such a devastating impact in my community that is not getting the attention needed from within. I have been appalled that others in the Christian community have not posted comments. It seems clear to me that the issue of the silence of the church was not addressed, but skirted around. Perhaps the reason for the kind of response made centers around the need to deal with "root cause," the mandate for the church/the pillar and ground of the truth, rather than symptoms and/or results. And if one of the root causes of HIV/AIDS is sexual transmission, one has to admit that the church "struggles" to address "sex" in a way that would or could make a difference, but has skirted around the issue most of the time. While the Book which the church uses a a guide for all of life might not address specific consequences resulting from misuse of a gift, it does address the misuse of gifts, and that includes sex. (I am quite aware of the fact that the church has not always dealt with issues as lovingly as we sometimes think; truth is often hard to accept no matter how it is presented). However, since HIV/AIDS is not just an issue, but an epidemic in the African American community, I join others in crying out for us to deal with this epidemic and sex as God ordained regardless of the sources from which our attention has been drawn to them.

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