‘When we choose to stigmatise those living with HIV, we do a disservice to our own humanity’: the rapper releases a new visual for National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Mykki Blanco has released a new video for “Hideaway” to coincide with National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Blanco became HIV positive in 2011, revealing his status on social media in 2015, writing: “Ive been HIV Positive since 2011, my entire career. fuck stigma and hiding in the dark, this is my real life. I’m healthy I’ve toured the world 3 times but ive been living in the dark, its time to actually be as punk as i say I am.” (sic)
Reflecting on it today, Blanco says in a press release that “I thought if I came out, I was immediately going to get shunned, that all my opportunities were just going to whittle away.” Since then, however, his career has flourished, and last year he released his debut album Mykki.
“Hideaway” was taken from that album. Lyrically, the song explores the denial of a couple living together where one person is HIV positive and their partner is not. “That feeling of shame, of hiding, of having love only exist in a bedroom,” Blanco says, “I know what that feels like.” The video was directed by Daisy Zhou and produced by amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) and W.
Blanco adds in a statement: “When we choose to stigmatise those living with HIV, we do a disservice to our own humanity. 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. There are nearly 37 million people living with HIV worldwide; 37 million people deserve to live in a world where they aren’t judged for their status. Love and happiness, compassion are birthrights of the human condition; 37 million people living with HIV deserve that just like anyone else.”
Blanco tours the UK from May 27-28, and plays M.I.A.’s Meltdown Festival on June 17.
Watch the “Hideaway” video above.