Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
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With World AIDS Day 2016 now a recent memory we can celebrate the fact that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence in much of the world, and we are starting to see a decrease in HIV rates across a large part of the country.
The glaring exception to that is the southern United States, an area with about one-third of the population of the United States, but with nearly half of all HIV cases in the nation. According to a 2014 U.S. Census Department report on the rate of new HIV infections 18 of the top 25 cities were in the South with Memphis ranking in at number 7 and the Nashville Metropolitan area ranking 22nd.
The situation is so extreme that living in the South has now been added as a risk factor for contracting HIV along side more common risk factors, such as being a gay and bisexual male, being an African American regardless of gender, a young gay and bisexual man, and being a transgendered woman. While HIV is still disproportionately effecting all of these groups, African American communities are among the hardest hit especially among gay and bisexual African American men, African American women, and African American transwomen.
The causes of the HIV epidemic in the South are multifaceted, encompassing social, religious, and cultural issues, and while many of those are similar throughout the region, that does not mean that there is a one size fits all solution. Part of the issue, though, seems to arise from the messaging surrounding the epidemic, as well as stigma
For many people, the horrors of the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s are still fresh in their mind, and they can tell you stories of watching friends pass on a weekly basis. For a younger generation, born since the late 1980s, HIV/AIDS has always existed, and with that so have messages about the dangers of the virus. These messages, specifically targeted at populations that have historically been the hardest hit by the virus, especially among gay and bisexual men, has led to an increase in AIDS Fatigue in those communities.
These communities have become desensitized to the messages around the virus, because they cannot remember a time before people were infected and when there were not lifesaving medications. They also don’t remember when people were dying of related diseases that were
once uncommon or non life threatening. This is a generation that is no longer living with the specter of death that haunted the gay bars, as friends and acquaintances stopped showing up.
Besides AIDS fatigue, messaging around the virus has also had other unintended consequences. Prevention methods have, for the longest time, focused primarily on condoms in an effort to decrease the spread of the virus. With condoms being shoved into their hands, pockets, and faces, gay men are starting to revolt against this constant force to try and influence one of the most intimate parts of their lives.
Because of this, there is a growing amount of ‘condom fatigue’ among gay and bisexual men, who are choosing to have raw sex. These are not men who believe that they are immune to STDs or HIV, and they are not unaware of the risk involved in having sex without condoms. Instead they are often men who are choosing when and how they have sex and who, in many ways, are rebelling against an aggressive campaign to try and stop a natural urge that most people have.
Another facet of this growing HIV epidemic in the South is the stigma that is attached to HIV, which continues to persist to this day. The stigma in the South is similar in many ways to the stigma faced in many parts of the country, stemming from a fear of being discovered as having HIV, as well as a fear of being tested or even associated with places that serve those with HIV.
But the stigma in the South is also felt on deeper level, being intimately tied to the South’s Bible Belt culture. In an area where sex is often a taboo subject, vital discussions of sex often do not happen to the detriment of the community. The role that the churched plays in the life of many southerners, and the impact of church ideology on the shape of discussions about sex, leaves many without vital information and this is putting communities at an increased risk for the virus.
Stigma also presents itself in the form of making many unable or afraid to admit that they are gay or bisexual, and because of this they are participating in risker sex behaviors, while also having sex with a female partner. This stigma means that these men and their partners not getting tested until they have become very sick, and because of this the HIV epidemic in the south is also becoming an AIDS epidemic, with Atlanta having the AIDS rate of a third world nation.
But, while the HIV rate in the south is eclipsing the rest of the nation, hope is not lost that things can be changed. Prevention efforts can now include newer messaging, including information about PrEP and its effectiveness in helping prevent HIV. Stigma can be addressed in a variety of ways, such as reaching out to community members, including churches, and having an open dialogue about the reality of living with HIV. And organizations tasked with fighting the epidemic need to understand that testing may have to occur in nontraditional settings.
AIDS is an epidemic that can come to an end, and there is an ambitious movement to end the transmission of HIV. While the South has a long journey ahead of it, in terms of its efforts to combat and defeat this epidemic, there is still hope that, by adapting to the new realities we face in the fight, we can still prevail over the trends.
Photo by Stephen Bloodworth
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.