Queer rapper Mykki Blanco has released a music video for his track “Hideaway” that is shining a spotlight on sexual health and HIV stigma.
The video, which was released in collaboration with W Magazine and amfAR, is in honor of the first observed Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on April 10.
“When we choose to stigmatize those living with HIV, we do a disservice to our own humanity,” Blanco states in a voiceover. “As someone who has lived healthily with the disease for five years now, I know all too well the fear of persecution and shame—and what that can do to one’s character and their life.”
“Love and happiness, compassion: they’re birthrights of the human condition,” he added. “Thirty-seven million people living with HIV deserve that, just like anyone else.”
Blanco first was diagnosed with HIV in 2011, but didn’t reveal his status publicly until 2015 out of fear that it would hurt his career.
“I thought if I came out, I was immediately going to get shunned, that all my opportunities were just going to whittle away,” he told W.
The rapper was thrilled to discover, however, that his career only flourished further after opening up about being HIV-positive.