YouTube Star Todrick Hall Helps Black Gay Men Face Their Fears About HIV
Todrick Hall is no stranger to being brave and proud. After coming out as gay following his appearance on American Idol in 2010, the YouTube sensation and Kinky Boots Broadway star chronicled his experiences in his breakthrough visual album/musical, Straight Outta Oz. Now, Todrick is using his bold attitude and voice to educate young, Black gay and bisexual men about HIV.
“I’ve built this big audience of people who I’m able to reach out to and talk to them, perform for them, show them my new music, make them laugh, entertain them, but also talk to them about important causes,” Todrick told BlackDoctor.org about using his platforms to educate others about HIV.
The illness hits close to home for the show-stopping artist. His first introduction to HIV happened when he was very young after a relative was diagnosed HIV positive. A very close dance teacher and several friends in the dance community were also positive, but it wasn’t until Todrick dated HIV positive partners that he understood just how ignorant he was about HIV.
Todrick admits he was a very close-minded person when it came to HIV, falsely believing that it was contagious or that simply dating someone with the virus was an automatic death wish.
“It was something very scary for me in the beginning,” he recalled. “I had to learn the statistics and find pamphlets and stuff and get as much information as I could because when you love someone it wasn’t worth it for me to not explore that relationship just because I was afraid of the virus.” Having open and honest conversations about HIV not only helped him learn how to keep himself safe and his partners healthy, but also helped him to see just how ignorant his mindset was.
“I’m really, really glad that I’ve come out of that a stronger, wiser person, and I’m glad that now I can use my experience and my voice to help other people,” he said.