The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has taken the unprecedented step of producing a music video to educate gay men about the many HIV prevention options available to them, and it is foot-stomping fabulous.
The song, “Collect My Love was released last year by The Knocks, and it features vocals by the inimitable Alex Newell, the young gender-bending singer who rose to fame by stealing season three of the television series, Glee. (His rendition of “Boogie Shoes” on that show is a one-way ticket to my happy place.) The CDC invited Newell to participate in a new music video for the song, and it’s a perfect fit for their outreach to young gay men of color.
In the video, Newell performs the song in a crowded, gay-friendly dance club. The atmosphere is ebullient with diverse gay men making connections, and that’s where HIV prevention messages campaign that targets gay and bi men, particularly African-Americans and Latinos.
In an interview with Alberto Santana of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Manny Rodriguez, director of the creative team at agency FHI360, both men made clear that solid research was their guide.
“This is an authentic campaign,” Rodriguez said, “with gay men involved in both the campaign staff and creative team. Our goal was to marry CDC research about MSM with something that is accessible and enjoyable to watch.”
“We know that having conversations about HIV does not reflect all interactions among gay men. But I wholeheartedly support this alternative, aspirational world, where gay men live joyfully and play responsibly. That’s the world I want to live in, and it models great behavior.
Check out the video and share it with your networks. Start a conversation about the multitude of ways that we can protect one another and our community.
And put on your dancing shoes.