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AIDS and HIV really worked its way into my consciousness with Magic Johnson’s admission in 1991.

It’s not that I wasn’t aware before.

AIDS became an epidemic circa 1986.

In my delta town in Mississippi, this deadly disease seemed about as relevant to my experience as the Chinese Revolution of 1912.

Media images always portrayed gay white men in San Francisco as the prototype who contracted AIDS due to homosexual sex or unfortunate youth such as Ryan White who contracted the disease through a blood transfusion necessitated because of hemophilia.

Health officials were always quick to announce that no one was immune from contracting the disease.

Still up until that point I just always believed that if a person was able to abstain from intravenous drug use, and homosexual sex, contracting HIV or AIDS would be the last issue one would need to deal with amid a host of health issues.

If Magic’s outing of his status wasn’t enough to put the fear of God in me, then rapper Easy E’s admission and rapid death, certainly converted me to a believer-that we all are vulnerable!!!

Honestly, after Magic bravely exposed his status to the world, I thought that he would slowly fade from public consciousness.

I presumed that he would eventually die.

Not only did he not die, he had a complete rebirth.

Instead of retiring from the sport that he loved so much, he made a successful return.

Even still, he became one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs ever.

It seems every urban area that I visited within the last 10 or 15 years, Magic has had a hand in its gentrification with his Magic Johnson theaters.

This was all in addition to having a moderately successful talk show.

Magic could have rested on his laurels at this point.

His stature was already solidified.

In addition to being a basketball great and successful businessman, he perhaps undertook his greatest and most socially significant role when he became an AIDS activist.

Most astonishing to me and perhaps other Americans, is Magic’s incredible longevity.

Besides surviving his ordeal, he has thrived and come through his diagnosis with as much agile, and health as someone unaffected with HIV!!

Although skeptics have voiced whether Magic is even affected or have somehow been miraculously cured, an adherence to an expensive treatment program and positive outlook seems to be the reason for his success in living with HIV.

His most successful bout has been with eradicating the fear and myth surrounding the illness

I completely laud his alliance with the LGBT community; especially in light of the reluctance of the African American community to openly acknowledge the existence of a large gay and bisexual contingent among our ranks!!!

Magic’s sincerity can best be demonstrated in the vehemence he has portrayed in acknowledging and defending his son who has recently decided to “come out”.

Readers and my fellow African Americans of all economic and political stripes take notice!!!!

Magic renders an invaluable public service by giving us a chance to finally have an open and honest dialogue about the interrelated issues of AIDS, HIV, and homosexuality in our communities.

He could have remained silent about his condition.

Much has been written and disseminated about the effects of the “down low” lifestyle on African Americans collectively.

This behavior is not only manifested in the obvious increasing AIDS rates among every segment of Black life in America, but also on the integrity of us as a community…

Integrity as a community?

When we have arrived at a juncture in which we can no longer face the truth of our actual lived experiences, where will that leave us?

Where will it start?

First we will lie and deceive each other; then our kids.

They in turn will have inherited these falsehoods and pass them on!!!!

The only logical conclusion will be our annihilation as a people and a community.

This will be a tragic result especially since we have spent precious time demonstrating to the world the truth of our experience.

Just my thoughts.

To Magic Johnson-definitely a hero head and shoulders above the rest!!!!!

I love you Magic.

Until next time….

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