Photographer and director John Gress and singer/songwriter Marshall Titus have released "I Will," a powerful new music video that addresses HIV and stigma among Black gay men. The video accompanies Marshall Titus' moving and soulful track.
The beautifully lensed video tells the story of a young man who becomes depressed after learning his HIV positive diagnosis. He shares his serostatus with friends and a potential new romantic interest, who all offers their love and support.
Gress explains his inspiration:
The storyline for my latest music video, “I Will,” was inspired by a public service announcement I shot for "A Day With HIV In America", a campaign which sets out to stop the stigma of HIV.
For almost 30 years the focus solely on condom usage and fear has led to a rift in our society. People who are negative run from people who are positive, and people who are positive run from people who are negative to avoid rejection. People who think they are negative are afraid to be tested because the last thing any one wants is to be marginalized.
I wanted to show that although an HIV diagnosis can be a traumatic event, everyone has people who will love, support and accept them. I purposefully only disclosed the HIV status of one of the charactersfor two reasons. I wanted it to be possible that the lead character went on a date with someone HIV-negative. The other reason is that we can’t tell who is positive and who is negative.
The video comes as data show Black gay/bisexual men continue to be hardest hit by HIV/AIDS. New HIV infections among young Black gay and bisexual men have increased by almost half, according to "alarming" new trends reported by the Centers for Disease Controls.