When Toronto drag queen Jade Elektra, aka HIV positive activist Alphonso King, Jr., stepped to the stage of the 2019 Toronto AIDS Vigil on Tuesday night, she knew she had a message. It wasn’t simply that she would become the first drag performer to sing live at the event.
For Jade, it was all about the song itself.
And now, that song has become a viral sensation, as it were. Jade simply took the Nat King Cole classic, “Unforgettable,” and made the tiniest change to the lyric. One word. “Undetectable.”
After performing the song publicly once or twice, Jade was invited to sing at the annual AIDS Vigil, on the site of the City’s AIDS Memorial. She didn’t know what was coming. “In our sensitive time of political correctness, I definitely did not want to offend anyone,” Jade said. “But they really wanted that song. So I said yes.”
Her performance melted the crowd, and the internet followed.
“Looking out over all those faces was amazing,” Jade recalls. “And hearing their reaction to the first word was magical! My fear melted away and it was on to channeling Marilyn Monroe as much as possible. Because after all, I may be HIV positive but Jade is a sexual being and unapologetic about it. I hadn’t decided what I was going to say in the instrumental break so I just let what came to mind come out.”
Watching her performance online for the first time, you may be struck by how clever the simply lyric change was. It isn’t until the instrumental bridge, though, when Jade begins to speak, that your heart might leap into your throat.
You know, for people who are living with HIV, we finally have the science to back up wheat I kind of knew about a decade ago. That ‘undetectable’ means you are ‘untransmittable.’ And hopefully, this will help us fight the stigma associated with being positive.
The Toronto AIDS Candlelight Vigil is an open community event held annually at the AIDS Memorial to remember, honor, and celebrate the people who have died of AIDS and to celebrate those who live with the virus.
“Several people were very emotional after my performance. I think maybe because we have come so far as survivors. And then a gentleman said, ‘Thank you for making me feel desirable again.’”
None other than Bruce Richman, founder of Prevention Access Campaign, which birthed the U=U movement, was captivated by the performance.
“I had tears in my eyes when I saw her perform with such a gorgeous, mesmerizing voice, such pride in who she is, and the powerful clear message,” Bruce said. “We’re seeing people from every background embrace the message all over the world, from China to Uganda to Russia, but Jade really got to me.”
Watch the video, courtesy of Gord Asmus, and Jade Elektra will get to you, too.
So beautifully, & perfectly done!!!!!! She has a wonderful, magnetic voice!!!!!!!!! She needs to go on ALL of the talk show circuits singing that song to wake up even more people, ESPECIALLY……….on ELLEN!!!!
‘Uninfected’ is much more impressive and much less sad than “undetectable”, especially 30 years after we determined that taking it up the behind is what spreads HIV so efficiently. I was totally ostracized by my college/gay bar friends, when I preached to them to quit getting f*cked. They, but two, are dead; I am not. Maybe they had the better, hotter, shorter Life – I will never know, but I do enjoy being alive.
Young & not so young ‘boys’ continue to run around & let anyone do whatever disease-ridden activity to them, with the false promise that HIV drugs will make it all okay. It’s not okay. Keep the d*cks out of your rear & keep the needles out of your arm.
You know what, I always believed in not having a relationship with a + guy, due to my fears. But really, with the drugs that are available nowadays, the probability of infection is practically zero, and you can even take PrEP for extra protection, coupled with condoms. I would definitely DO a hot + guy.
Here’s a 3for1 comment:
1. My last girlfriend would, from time to time, have feminine hygiene issues hence, “INEDIBLE, that’s what you are…” “Darling the smell is incredible, that’s why you are INEDIBLE…” etc.
2. Back in the 90’s I was reading in some entertainment mag that when Natalie Cole was wasted & driving her SUV down Hollywood Blvd she flipped it. As the EMT’s were cutting her out with the JAWS OF LIFE she regained consciousness & asked one, “Am I dead yet?” Now I’m no expert in substance abuse but it can’t be a good sign if one has to ask a total stranger that question.
3. Jade is very pretty but her singing voice reminds me too much of Dorothy from THE GOLDEN GIRLS.
Stay cool my brothers & sisters and always remember Race is an arbitrary & erroneous construct. We are all one race: HUMAN.
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