NASHVILLE, TN — Julian J. Walker, Nashville resident, singer & star of the 2015 breakout film Blackbird, is sharing his MyHealthysexualsStory through a new video series as part of Gilead Science’s Healthysexuals campaign, which addresses debilitating stigma and healthier sex practices to help prevent HIV and other STIs in a sex-positive and inclusive way. Visit www.Healthysexuals.com
In his video, Julian talks about the barriers gay men living in the southeastern part of the U.S. often experience when trying to access sexual health services and information, and how that helped drive his passion for HIV prevention and treatment.
The Healthysexuals campaign is helping to create change by connecting well-known advocates who are members of the communities they are speaking to, with leading advocacy groups from the HIV/AIDS, Latino and Black MSM and transgender communities. These groups include Latinos Salud, Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative, Southern AIDS Coalition, and TransLatin@ Coalition.
Julian’s video, along with trans model and advocate Carmen Carrera’s video, is available on the Healthysexuals YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDs3rFU3ExU
Julian made his film debut in Blackbird, a 2014 drama film, starring Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington in the lead roles. Julian delivered a brilliant performance as a gay high school teenager, “Randy Rousseau” who lives in a small Baptist town in Mississippi. His character struggles with his religion and his sexuality. To make matters worse, his younger sister has been missing for years and it’s tearing his family apart.
Julian recently shared details about his work in the Healthysexuals campaign and more through these 5 Questions.
TRIBUNE: How did you get involved with the Healthy Sexuals.com campaign? Julian: I got involved through an organization I’m part of called M.O.B.I., which stands for Mobilizing Our Brother Initiative. That allowed me to get with the campaign. “I’m so excited to be teamed up with Gilead Sciences on Healthysexuals…This campaign was created to help people understand that healthy sex can be great sex…I’m originally from Jackson, Mississippi…So, as a black gay man, I’m no stranger to the HIV statistics, which are alarming for black men who are gay and bisexual from the South. When I first came out, the stigma associated with HIV prevented me from fully understanding how to best protect myself. I noticed that the people were unwilling to have honest and informed conversations with me about HIV prevention, and it really stigmatized me. So that’s why this campaign is so important.
TRIBUNE: I know the target audience for the Healthysexuals campaign is primarily for the male gay community, but what about men and women who are not gay, is there something to learn for them? Julian: Yes! There’s so many negative stigmas surrounding the topic of HIV and STI. If you watch any of these MyHealthysexuals video stories, you will be able to take away something. I’m glad you asked that because there were some people who commented or even told me directly, they don’t include themselves within the LGBT community, but they were able to understand they didn’t know about the various preventative treatment options that are now available out here…People only think that there’s just condoms out there, but they’re not and that’s what’s so important once again, about this campaign. It’s breaking those barriers and helping people understand regardless if you’re gay, or straight, that you should take control over your sexual health.
TRIBUNE: Has working with the campaign made an impact on your friends and family? Julian: When I began posting the video MyHealthysexualsStory on my Facebook page, it was amazing how many people shared it love and support…With this campaign, we’re showing people that it’s okay to have those open and honest conversations, even if things don’t change overnight, people are saying, ‘Wow, this is someone that looks like me. This is someone who is successful.
TRIBUNE? You’re originally from Mississippi but do you now live here in Nashville? Julian: I’ve lived here in Nashville for about a year, which makes it so much more important with the Healthysexuals campaign because I’m still living here in the South. I’m able to connect with people within this community. I’m able to show them love, support.
TRIBUNE: As so many people know, you made your break out role in the film “Blackbird.” What projects are you working on now? Julian: I’m currently auditioning a lot, and I’m working on a poetry book. But in the fall, people can see me in an episode of Being Mary Jane on BET. If anyone wants to stay in touch with what I’m doing, just follow me on my social media pages or mainly just go to Healthysexuals.com page.