Out & About Today Nashville Channel 5
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Most people in the Nashville LGBT community will probably recognize Brady Morris, even if they don’t know him personally. Certainly anyone involved in HIV advocacy has probably worked with him at some level or other.
Brady’s journey as an HIV activist began with diagnosis: “Back in 2009, I had just moved to Nashville in March. I was diagnosed in July, and I had no family or friends here. The diagnosis literally stopped my life.” Making matters worse, by the time he was diagnosed he had already progressed to the stage of AIDS.
“For about two years,” Brady said, “all I did was sink into deep depression—there were suicide attempts—I thought my life was over, had no further purpose of meaning. Alcohol, drugs, it was years of me trying to just stay numb. It wasn’t until an acquaintance of mine who knew I was positive came to me and said, ‘I know we aren't good friends, but I know you have been going through this. I was just diagnosed, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?’”
This gave Brady a new perspective. “That flipped the script for me,” he said. “I knew I could use my experience to help others, and I don't want anyone else in this community to go through and feel what I did. That motivated me to be more vocal and out about my status.”
Brady decided to study all he could about the virus that had so changed his life, and how he could work to help more people. “Even before I became positive,” he said, “I had all the knowledge: I knew how it was contracted and spread and knew how to prevent it. All it took was one drunk evening and trusting the wrong person one time, and suddenly ‘It’ll never be me’ became ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’”
Since educating himself on the complex social, legal, and political issues related to HIV, Brady has gotten involved all across Nashville. He is perhaps most widely known as one of the smiling faces of Mr. Friendly. “Steven Bloodworth approached me one night,” he recalled, “and told me about the Mr. Friendly campaign, a new face of HIV awareness trying to eradicate stigma by having one open honest conversation at a time. It resonated in my soul, and that’s how it began.”
There, Brady met Larry Frampton, a long-term survivor who has been an HIV advocate for twenty-five years. “Larry took me under his wing,” Brady said, “and they talked me into going to AIDS Watch last year, where we met one-on-one with our senators and representatives in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Ryan White Care Act and how it affects those of us living with HIV and how it improves our lives. We also talk about other major concerns for the HIV community, like criminalization laws.”
After that experience, he said, “I became more up front on social media and use it to fight stigma, talk about what HIV is, and to try to advance knowledge about PREP.” He’s even been invited to begin making presentations on PREP for medical residents at St. Thomas Hospital.
He has also joined the Nashville Regional HIV Planning Council, chaired by Frampton and Robert Adams Magee, and was recently appointed chair of outreach. Part of his role there is “creating a safe space for people who are out or not out about their status—a safe space to come together to discuss what needs are being met, and where they think their needs are not being met, so that I can bring that back to the committee….”
Brady is also active in the Tennessee AIDS Advocacy Network (TAAN), which works to modernize HIV criminalization laws. “We are trying to shape laws that are more reflective of current science,” he said, “rather than the knee jerk reactions to the HIV epidemic which spawned most of these laws. Currently being HIV positive, even as open as I am, if I had a bad breakup and someone lied and said I didn’t disclose, I could be charged with a felony and registered as a sex offender. Intent doesn’t matter, and the burden is generally on the positive person to prove they disclosed.”
Most recently, Brady has joined the board of OutCentral as member-at-large, where he’ll be involved in development and fundraising. Asked why he’d add this to an already full plate, he explained, “When I moved to Nashville, the LGBT community center seemed to have its hands in everything and was a vital part of the community…. I wanted to be part of brining the LGBT community center back to the center of the community…. I’ve talked to a few other new board members, and there is a lot of excitement and commitment, so I think it's going to be a good year for OutCentral!”
In the coming months, Brady also hopes to host an event on Church Street to help raise awareness. “At first I considered a PREP presentation at one of the bigger bars, but I saw other big cities hosting ‘party nights,’ which are less heavy than presentations. It’s a non-threatening way to help inform people that there is a safe, once-a-day pill that can help prevent the contraction of HIV!”
“Just here in Nashville,” Brady said, explaining why he feels his work is so urgent, “about every month I have three or four people come to me through social media who confide that they were recently diagnosed and that they have nowhere to turn…. I know for every one that comes to me there are any number more who are too afraid. I want people to know there is no reason to be afraid with me, no reason to be ashamed. I’m here to talk and help….”
Brady’s own story illustrates why it’s so important to open up and seek help if you have discovered you are HIV-positive. “When I was first diagnosed I felt completely fine, I had no symptoms and hadn't been sick in forever. I was diagnosed with AIDS…. If I had caught a cold, I might have died. As of today my viral load is still undetectable…. That's how good medications are today.”
Stigma and fear remain major barriers to getting people into treatment, and getting everyone who needs it into treatment is the key to ending the epidemic, which is why Brady works to encourage everyone to get tested: “We all have a status: it’s so important to know yours!”
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.