Rapper, poet and performance artist Mykki Blanco made a difficult disclosure on Friday night, publicly revealing that he is HIV positive.
Blanco shared the diagnosis in a note on his Facebook page. “I’ve been HIV Positive since 2011, my entire career,” he wrote. “Fuck stigma and hiding in the dark, this is my real life. I’m healthy I’ve toured the world 3 times but ive been living in the dark, its time to actually be as punk as i say I am.” Responding to a supporter’s comment on the post, he offered a few more details. “its just today for everyone else knowing but its been 5 years for me, meds, garlic, limes, yogurt lol world travel,” he said. “I just cant be an image living in fear having people call me brave and it being a lie.”
The Harlem rapper, whose real name is Michael Quattlebaum Jr. and at times identifies as transgender, has long been active in the fight for LGBT rights. Last spring, he told fans that he was arrested in Portugal for being gay, and he has spoken out against Russia’s repressive “gay propaganda” laws while supporting LGBT youth in the country. His most recent release was 2014’s Gay Dog Food, and he recently announced that a new studio album is in the works.
In another response to a fan’s comment, Blanco suggested that the disclosure may change the direction of his career, perhaps against his will. “The music industry ain’t gonna like i admitted this,” he wrote, “so if a curator could help me move more into the art world that would be awesome.”