The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has produced a music video that joyfully educates gay men about HIV prevention options. Amazingly, it’s foot-stomping fabulous.
The song, “Collect My Love,” was released by The Knocks and it features vocals by 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 our happy place).
In the CDC music video is newly released, Newell performs the song in a crowded, gay-friendly dance club. The atmosphere is ebullient and cruisy, with gay men making connections left and right. That’s where HIV prevention comes in. We have a hard time believing this would get made under the angry, antigay Trump/Pence White House.
The CDC is exceedingly careful to provide scientifically accurate messages, but has certainly never delivered these messages in such an innovative and entertaining way. The video incorporates both PrEP and the fact people with HIV can become undetectable — two important and often misunderstood issues being heavily discussed among the gay community right this minute.
The men featured in the video are youthful and attractive, but blessedly, they look like young men you might actually meet in a club, not unattainable icons from the pages of Men’s Fitness. In fact, there’s a plus-sized bear seen tearing up the dance floor who walks away with the video during his few seconds on camera. In our mind’s eye, that jubilant, self-possessed man is not going home alone.
Sure, the world conjured in the CDC video may not reflect all interactions among gay men as we know them to be. Stigma and judgment still exist and are practiced nightly in clubs throughout the country. But we wholeheartedly support this alternative, aspirational world, where gay men live joyfully and play responsibly. That’s the world we want to live in.
The video will be shared on social media and through CDC’s community partners. But why wait? Check it out, and share it with your networks. Discuss it. Start a conversation about the ways we can protect ourselves and our community.
And put on your boogie shoes.