I wanted people to know that I don't do this work for any gain of my own, but because of the pain; the pain that me and so many others live and have lived with because of HIV/AIDS.
In 1996, at the height of my popularity, one of my closest friends, Tory Johnson, died from complications related to AIDS. He was so ashamed that he never disclosed his status. Tory died just as much from the stigma and shame associated with this disease as from the physical complications. By the time he entered treatment, it was to late. I promised him on his death bed that I would knock down the freaking walls of shame and stigma as long as God gave me breath in my body. I have kept my promise! Even when I'm sick and at my lowest, I hold my head up high and keep it moving. Even when speaking engagements are few and far between and I'm trying to figure out where my next meal is coming from, I understand that this is the call on my life. I feel like Jonah, caught up in the belly of the whale. God won't let me out. This is the purpose He has for my life. I'm resolved to that fact!
Jenna loosely mentioned that I should have a Tweet-up, I immediately dismissed it. She told me there are a lot of people who admire me on Twitter and Facebook who would want to just hang out with me for the night. I reluctantly agreed, but still I was hesitant. I knew that it had to be much more then just "hanging with me," cause I don't even hang out.
Then God gave me a vision and in four days the fruit of this vision will come to light. Yes, this is an old-fashioned Tweet-Up/Meet-Up where people from Twitter and Facebook come together to hang out for an evening of mixing and mingling. But it will be so much more. First, everyone who comes to this event, will be taking a stand publicly against stigma and shame around HIV/AIDS. To support a social event that has HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness as a theme is a milestone. Second, while we are "hanging out," HIV/AIDS education will take center stage. I am asking my supporters to do the following:
2. Those on Twitter and Facebook, I'm asking that you feed your Twitter through your Facebook for the night so that those who follow you on Facebook but not on Twitter can still be an a part of the event.
3. I'm asking all those on Twitter to ask their followers to support the event by retweeting what you Tweet and retweet.
The hashtags for the evening are #RLTEvent and #EncoreAllegro.
Twitter handles are @raelt and @EncoreLounge.
Social Media is the craze. More people go to Facebook then to Google. Target quadrupled their sales of a tea through Facebook and Twitter in one month. The power of Social Media is loud and clear. I want for us to take HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention to cyberspace en masse on Thursday night.
Hotel Allegro came on board as my primary sponsor. They are providing their wonderful Encore Liquid Lounge for the evening. In fact, they have closed their doors for us. Their commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention and education has been long-standing and the proof is in the pudding! I am asking everyone to show Encore some love on Facebook and Twitter. Companies who boldly support HIV/AIDS work deserve our support.
swag bags around HIV/AIDS with lots of great information. The first 100 people will get a premium swag bag too. Maybe next time, if I prove myself to companies with the success of this event, I will have premium swag bags for everyone. Yes, I am already planning my second one in my head, #overachiever.
Art "Chat Daddy" Sims. There will be a candy table provided by Sienna Rose, you can register for my AIDS Walk team, there will be limited edition Diva AIDS Awareness bracelets for purchase and the fun of the evening will be the raffle prizes. Right now I have over 70 raffle prizes. Raffle tickets are $2.00 each or three for $5.00. You may win a pretty condom case or you may win a handbag valued at $250 or dinner for two at one of the Kimpton Restaurants. Also, Encore will be providing hors d'oeuvres. But don't expect them to feed you all night. #For Real... And, I'm still working on dessert. Keep your fingers crossed. The event is free. Whether you are in attendance or not, you are free to make a donation to help support my work around HIV/AIDS prevention.
Hope to see you there... I'm hanging all night... Attire: whatever you want to wear. I think it will be from after work to jeans to chic... Me, well, y'all know how I roll... #DivaImage #DivaApproved.