Thursday, August 31, 2006

Global HIV Documentary Airs on PBS tonight
Critically Acclaimed Film on Global AIDS Features Narration by Glenn Close and Will Smith -

One of the best documentaries ever produced about the global HIV epidemic will air tonight on PBS. After watching the documentary on HIV in the Black community, "A closer walk" will serve to provide the look of HIV on a macrocosmic level. Check the link and watch...learn....and React!

A CLOSER WALK, Oscar nominee Robert Bilheimer's film about the global AIDS epidemic, airs on PBS Thursday, August 31, 2006, 9:00-10:30 pm ET, marking the documentary's U.S. television debut.

Narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith, A CLOSER WALK features interviews with the Dalai Lama, Bono and Kofi Annan, with musical contributions by Annie Lennox, the Neville Brothers, Eric Clapton and Sade.

Filmed on four continents over a period of three years, A CLOSER WALK depicts the harsh realities of global AIDS, and explores the intricate relationship between health, dignity and human rights.

"This is a story about the way the world is" says Close in the opening line of the program's narration. The film's rendering of the world through the prism of AIDS takes the viewer to locations in the United States, Ukraine, Uganda, South Africa, India and Haiti, and offers deeply personal stories of children, women and men around the world affected by the disease. Those caring or advocating for people living with AIDS are featured prominently in the film as well. They include Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, India's Dr. Suniti Solomon and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Speaking of his approach to the film and its complex subject matter, director Bilheimer said, "When I interviewed [UNAIDS Executive Director] Peter Piot early on, I was really struck by his insight that 'AIDS is part of the human condition,' and that 'AIDS exists because we exist.' When Peter said that, I knew that A CLOSER WALK should indeed be a film about the way the world is, and that my colleagues and I would need to be in and of the world for a period of time to truly understand what AIDS is doing to us all."

The film has received international critical acclaim. Writing for the Gannett News Service, chief film critic Jack Garner gave A CLOSER WALK his highest rating, calling it a "beautifully told story of suffering that inspires hope and action." In South Africa, reviewing the film prior to its national airing on South African television, Claire Keaton of the Sunday Times called the film "unforgettable." In New Delhi, following the film's India premiere, Rajeshwari Sharma of the Economic Times said that A CLOSER WALK is "an absolutely brilliant account of the deadliest plague humankind has ever known."

Originally conceived in 1996 with the late Jonathan Mann - widely regarded as the architect of the global response to AIDS - A CLOSER WALK took three years to develop, three years to make and is now in its third year of a distribution campaign.

"The whole point," says Bilheimer, "was to level the playing field in terms of what we all - as a human family - understand about AIDS. Making a film that would somehow engage everyone on this issue was obviously a challenge on the creative side. But the equal challenge, on the distribution side, was to put the movie in front of, literally, hundreds of millions of people. We are about to achieve that."

Since its premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2003, A CLOSER WALK has been broadcast nationally on South African television (SABC 1) and Canadian television (CBC). Agreements to air the film in China and India on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2006, are being finalized.

Featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film has also premiered at Lincoln Center in New York City, in Kansas City and Kiev, and in New Delhi, Johanesburg, Durban, Bangkok and Phnom Penh. It has been shown at hundreds of schools and college campuses around the world, and been used as a primary education and awareness tool by NGOs, corporations and other organizations, including various UN Agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP and UNODC, the U.S. Department of State, AmfAR, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundations and prominent AIDS advocacy and education campaigns, including The One Campaign and Grassroot Soccer. Oprah Winfrey has featured excerpts from A CLOSER

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Namaste yoga..a yummy filler

In the last few months I have watched more hours of television than I did in the months of Jan-May combined. Now, normally I might beat myself up but I'm learning to be mindful of things I don't intend to do.I think we could benefit from a little more mindfulness. In this particular case, I wasn't beating myself up about watching some mindless entertainment when mid-channel surf I found it...... Namaste Yoga on FItTV.

I was very close to mental giddyness when my remote stumbled onto this show. Mind you it's all of 12:30 am and I really should be sleeping.I prefer yoga in class or early in the morning at home.Most of the yoga shows on TV are completely bland and lackluster.But this....this ....program was the most like being in class with a serious yogi.This yoga was so good..... I actually got off the sofa,from under the blanket and onto the floor. With no you understand that? Downward facing dog hasn't felt that good outside of an instructed class.

To help you visualize,try this. Think Zen music meets slowly rotating outdoor scenery + the calming voice of the instructor.I think I could smell Nag Champa coming through the Tv. I don't know, maybe I am a geek but hell anything that makes you get off the couch at midnight is worth mentioning. Can't wait for it again at 7:30 am. Check the website for your local times. Get to stretching and Sun Salute.....

Namaste Peoples....

check the's so serious

Will the spotlight last? Black HIV cases

It seems as though ABC's documentary on HIV/AIDS in Black America did a great deal for prevention efforts. Since the documentary aired on Thursday I've been talking out the wazoo about HIV in our community. If you didn't catch check out this. The major points highlighted were homophobia & silence in the Black community, rapidly increasing rates among women & their social status, and the silence of the Black church. While the doc didn't tell me anything I haven't learned in the last 5 years, I think it may have served as a wake-up call for some. Statistics may frighten some and encourage others. Par exemple....Swallowing this statistic may be difficult....Black people=13% of the population and Black women= 52% of the newly diagnosed HIV cases.
More Feb 2005 statistics here--->

If you hadn't heard news like that then you can imagine how shocking it can be. I've been approached several times to talk about HIV since the doc and at one of the best locations to talk about sex and HIV..........a martini bar...........Can you think of a better place to have intellectual conversation, well umm I'm sure you could. Despite popular belief, tipsy people can make some rather insightful comments*
The conversations were productive and in between sips of Riesling, I encouraged more prevention and fundraising activities. I even gave out prominent HIV contact information for the state of Alabama. I can only hope that a documentary along with other outreach can create a lasting effect. I'm doing my part and I can only hope that the afterglow lasts. I'll be curious to see if testing rates go up at work next week. I'll keep you posted and you let me know when you were last tested.

Until then, we must continue to do to push HIV to the forefront by ending the silence and start talking...any and everywhere! One of the key statements that emerged from the white gay male fight against AIDS was "silence equals death". We must learn to adopt this statement in order to reduce the damage already being done by HIV. The problem with this like many other issues in Black America is silence is a pattern. Some individuals who lack self-worth accept a culture of "oh well" and AIDS in no exception. I'll continue to fight the battle and encourage others to get tested, use condoms,and change social dynamics .......... what will you do to kill the silent epidemic?

Friday, August 25, 2006

making waves and riding them out......

The title of this blog is a quote from one of my newest and treasured friends. Today laughing on the phone, she made this witty reference to the ideology of moverandshakerism on news of my recent employment in the DC area. I laughed out loud and remarked at how wonderful that simple saying was. She said she makes affirmations to herself just to keep the energy moving. It reminded me of how important self-affirming words are. I also used the moment to be suspended in accepting creative energy from others. We find that difficult to do sometimes, assuming we are the only goodideahavers. Blahhhh!!!! People remark that I am too passionate sometimes (even about the simple things, but hey when you find yourself you'll be doing that too). I love learning from others and getting absorbed into other people's mind framework for a spell....try it you'll learn something 'bout yo self.... Anyways, I do digress.......

Being a person geared towards self improvement through the channels of self-acceptance, I tried to remember when I'd last given myself an affirmation. It was just yesterday, but suprisingly I'd forgotten what it was. Was it not creative enough? I remembered my wall & mirror quotes though...Mirror, you say?
While living in Birmingham, I had these beautiful quotes I'd write on the bathroom mirror to remind myself of the greatness in me and in the world. The mirror served as a very powerful mode of self-celebration. Just taking the time to remind myself and you that self-celebration can be forgotten if not kept spunky and creative just like us. So that being said, Sista I'm taking that quote and modifying it...... "I make waves and create splashes as I ride them"....

Everyone should be reminded of the beauty inside them through creative circuits...let's do it....If it's new to you...I can hold your hand for a lil while but then you gone have to start steppin high and stepping out...... Read more wacky but realistic affirmations here and here. Then of course you can always make your own, unique to your situation and perspective on affirmations...Try it and uh lemme know how it benefits you.....

with love,

Int So Grl

Monday, August 21, 2006

jitters...sup with that?

I'm nervous....................


without can get 'em......and then couple the fact that you didn't eat with............

damn I really need to meditate more often........... cause.............

these people ( blessed humans) are really trying my zen style right now..........

making me jittery and shit....or is it the empty belly?


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why is Shelia Johnson up there?

Who is Shelia Johnson you ask? She's the Executive V.P of Corporate Affairs for BET & wife of Bob Johnson of the same network fame. Why you ask is her name so important that she's included in the title of this blog? Suprisingly, she was featured yesterday during the opening day panels held at the International HIV/AIDS conference in Toronto. Mrs. Johnson held the stage for a panel on the status of women and HIV along with Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation, Dr. Nadik,gender inequality specialist and UN Special Envoy for Asia, and Musa Njoko, an HIV advocate from South Africa.

The panel commenced with insightful commentary from each woman's perspective of AIDS and it's impact on women,family, and future country's stability. Women currently represent 50% of those infected with HIV/AIDS and are the population in which the disease is most rapidly increasing. Check other stats on women here.

I watched the broadcast of the conference on CSPAN as I was not in attendance this year. Melinda Gates, whose foundation, co-chaired by husband Bill Gates, has millions of dollars going into HIV prevention and treatment programs all over the globe, spoke very plainly with evidence-based research with women as her platform. She spoke of gender inequality, poor and disempowered women difficulty in negotiating condom use, and the role of girl's education in the fight against AIDS. The Gates foundation is a leading funder of programs designed to combat women's vulnerability to HIV, namely microbicide research. Microbicides are products applied topically that contain anti-HIV meds that can block the virus from entering the vagina.The products are odorless and can be applied without need for permission from a woman's husband or a sex worker's clients. More Microbicide info is here. ( Microbicides are the newest developments that can potentially turn the state of HIV around for women and I can go overboard when it comes to them....Let's just say they are my favorite in the works prevention tool...other than a vaccine)

Dr.Nafis Nadik, specalist on Gender inequality in Asia, also delivered a well informed platform on the realities of child marriage in the developing world, and spousal infidelity in patriarchial societies and their relation to increasing HIV infection for women.

From the advocate position, Musa Njoko a 34-year young woman from South Africa, previously featured in the stellar HIV documentary A Closer Walk, provided the viewpoint of an infected woman and her struggles for support in modern South Africa. Musa talked about her ideas for building more interventions and programs centered around living HIV positive and empowered.

Now enter Mrs. Shelia Johnson, who was introduced by her position at BET and her youth involvement experiences. ............Her comments were pitiful at best. She spoke from a clearly inexperienced researcher. I could tell you how many times she said "we just need to educate them" but then you'd probably feel sorry for her and Bob ( if one could feel sympathy for a millionaire with a monopolizing social & cultural influence on the African American community.) Her responses were overly simplistic in nature and when she spoke, she looked like a deer in headlights.
Mrs. Johnson clearly was mistaken in what she assumed was her target audience. She must have thought her audience a group of novices; uninformed paraprofessionals. In actuality, Mrs. Johnson was presenting to an informed global audience ( in Toronto and simultaneously translated & broadcast all over the world), well suited to criticize overly simplistic thoughtless one liner approaches to the issues of Women & AIDS. She was really doing a diservice to herself when she stated "women are constantly being challenged to be sexual beings"....WTF???? BET?? Sexual Beings?
Don't just take my word for it, see the deer in headlights for yourself and through the eyes of reporters....Excerpts from reporters comments on the meeting...

I'm sorry, Mrs. Johnson women need more than your summer youth basketball team to keep women out of the reach of HIV/AIDS. We need stronger methods to counteract the booty-fication of television and society. She even mentioned the role of the media in preventing HIV, not with much elaboration of course.
Who does this woman thinks she's talking to? I don't want to sound condescending on anyone who is making an effort, but any exec.VP whose network further fuels the degradation of women, needs to get a clue. It seemed that the overarching theme escaped her. When you realize that women's role in society is directly correlated to their risk for HIV, the reasons for increasing HIV prevalence among poor, uneducated,disempowered,marginalized, and obectified African American, Eastern European, Indian, Cambodian, and African women is clear.

I wonder if Mrs. Johnson would be willing to show 30 minutes of her network's programming to women seeking to empowering messages that protect them from a society that sets them up for AIDS. Likely they'd see more ways to put themselves at risk....continue to lower yourself to bitches and hoes, put more emphasis on the way your ass looks in those jeans, objectify yourself and have others do the same, and don't forget to "let a man be a man".

Why is this woman representing the fight against AIDS?

a real activist..not buying it.....

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We're here to experience.....Everything is everything

We’re here to experience……Everything is everything.

A wild horse one day appeared and made its home in a farmer’s field. “How lucky you are to have acquired such a fine horse for nothing!” said his neighbors. “Maybe, maybe not,” replied the farmer. The farmer’s son, who was his only helping hand around the farm, tried to ride the horse. It threw him, breaking his legs. “How unlucky for you,” chorused the neighbors. “Maybe, maybe not,” replied the farmer. The young man was left behind when the emperor’s soldiers arrived in the village to conscript all the able-bodied young men into the army, many of whom were to die in the war. Meanwhile, the farmer’s wild horse ran away. “How unfortunate!” cried his neighbors. “Maybe, maybe not,” rejoined the farmer. The horse returned to his field bringing his entire her with him. “What good fortune!” exclaimed his neighbors. “Maybe, maybe not,” reflected the wise farmer.
This small passage of old Chinese wisdom resonates with me each time I read it. The beauty of life is the uncertainty. I remember a time when I wanted to know everything for certain and those moments still come back to me every now and again. I wanted to control jobs, other people, and just about anything I thought might threaten my livelihood. We’ve all had to battle being control freaks at sometime in our lives.

The beauty of the passage is that it reveals an aspect of our unseen natures. We, even through simple statements, are still attempting to control situations that cannot be controlled by our minds. We must embrace what is for what it is….which is not always what we want or what we interpret it as being. The neighbor’s comments reflect their need to feel comfortable in the farmer’s situation. Often the sympathy we feel for others is primarily based in our desire for comfort. We want the situations that make us uncomfortable resolved, often immediately after we hear of them. This is not all completely our faults. We are not in nature individuals who are superficial and bogus concern with the wellbeing of others. We can blame our society we can blame our parents, or we can blame our reliance on tradition without investigation. Not much thought goes into the manner in which we deal with others, specifically if we are not counselors or interested in world healing. For the non-altruists, I’ll add the following statement. If we must think in terms of individualism, then we view a new approach to genuine sympathy as beneficial for us and them. Whatever we do for others we do for ourselves, as we are all contributing members in this world.
An old chaplain friend of mine taught a workshop on HIV diagnosis counseling last year. The most important concept I learned in this workshop was living in the moment with whomever you are counseling. Don’t rush into placing an individual into a category or force them to make complete sense of what they are currently experiencing. Staying with others in their time of difficulty can show whether you are truly committed to showing sympathy. This is but one example of how we can live in the moment as a justice to ourselves and others around us. We often think that the moment is never good enough; that something better is around the corner. Living in this manner closes us off from the free things that we are meant to experience from moment to moment. We can not assume that what is to happen next will be the ultimate in greatness; neither can we expect the worst of outcomes. This passage helps me to think of every moment not as great in a sense of superiority, but simplistically great because It is what it Is.

Put into pop culture terminology, “everything is everything”….we’re just here to experience it. Now go forth my friends and put that in the air.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Terror Insurance.....hmmmm....

Yesterday, the first news I received was that of a "foiled" terror plot on UK aircrafts traveling towards the US. I'm becoming less and less interested in watching the news....I've already eliminated local and most cable stations...but I still must watch CNN. So 23:45 minutes of yesterday the repeating story detailed some "probable Pakistani" natives who worked at Heathrow and their attempt to blow up planes with gatorade or something like that.

Don't get me wrong people should be informed on world happenings and the like, but stop with the promotion of fear. I did watch and was interested for the first 35 minutes of the coverage yesterday, only to find today more terror/fear based product promotion. Now before we travel, not only must we have our belongings in clear plastic bags..... we need terror insurance. Yes, dear friends ...terror insurance. If you're wondering how it all works, imagine this. If you decide not to fly because of a terror threat somewhere, you can just charge that to your terror insurance. They'll foot the bill if you want to cancel any type of travel based on perceived terror threats. Now at first thought, it does sound good, considering all the threats the US is likely to receive throughout our continuous reign of capitalism and oppression.

But really, lets think about this. Do we really need another gallon of gasoline added to our fear-based flames we call life? Call me me naive...hell call me crazy, but I'm thinking of our futures..... Now presuming that one day I'll decide to have kids or you'll decide to have kids do we want them to continue to live in this frightened fish tank of world? I see this insurance as a huge step in dealing with the symptoms of terrorism instead of the root causes.We'll just keep building our defenses instead of our offense. Where is a good World Cup coach when you need one? I think Americans are not into prevention based approaches to world problems, i.e. terrorism,world hunger,homelessness,drug addiction, insert other social ills here.
Will we realize that bomb-proofing our houses will not prevent terrorism? We gotta get some new thinkers on these issues......

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Oh yes....I'm back in here....

Hello all my adoring fans... I am happy to announce I am back in the building...with the success of my former blogs... and my not so successful but very attractive blog.. and my overly viewed full of randomness blog on , I've decided to devote a blog to a happy medium of all great and not so great aspects of my former blogs.. Get Ready for a bunch of something...that'll probably consist of the following......
1.Interesting happenings in the world of HIV/AIDS and poverty reduction
2. Feminism and the modern world/the black community latest passion-whatever it may be on said date
4. female genital mutiliation/cutting- terminology......depending how much of a feminist I feel like on said date
5. Love and my predictions on what makes it good-not that sappy...i can't live without you stuff either...this'll be something of the buddhist/free love paradigm
6.running- 5-10K marathons and sprinting through local Georgia neighborhoods
7.Thai food and my passion for it and men who recognize good curry/masman paste
8.Fashion- ecletic styles and thrift store luck ups....although I don't really consider it luck ...more like my style gods personal deliveries
9...insert other point of randomness here

So....sit back strap up and strap we go on another of life's wonderful journeys!

luv InTn so. grL