Earlier this year Mykki Blanco revealed he is HIV positive in a Facebook post, telling his fans he’s lived with this since 2011 — his full career. Now, for the new issue of Plus magazine, the rapper discussed what it’s like being the only living rapper to acknowledge having the virus and how contracting HIV has changed his creative perspective.
“Everyone always knew I was gay,” he said, explaining his attitude of full transparency with his fans. “My father told me he knew I was gay when I was 3 years old. How shitty and how deceived would they [the fans] feel if, 20 years from now, they found out I was HIV-positive but I was too afraid of the stigma to come out about it? What kind of fraud would I have been to all the people that supported me? All the people that are trans and positive? Who are gay and positive? Who supported me and bought my music and come to my shows? I couldn’t be honest with myself enough, to love myself enough, [so] that self-love could then be encouragement or inspiration to them? No, no, no. Honestly, truthfully, I think I have too much integrity for that.”
Ultimately, Blanco said, the decision to come out as HIV-positive was a matter of love and a desire to prove the virus didn’t have to define him.
“I did it for love. I did it for myself,” he said. “At a certain point, my real life has to be more important than this career. And at a certain point, my own happiness and my own loneliness, it overcame me…. Being HIV-positive doesn’t mean you don’t get to feel sexy or free or liberated. It doesn’t silence you from talking about sex or having sex. Be safe. Be conscious. Be aware. But don’t let society make you feel like you can’t be sexy, or ashamed for being sexual. Stay safe. Stay free.”
Read Plus‘ full Mykki Blanco cover story from its November/December issue here.