Monday, September 1, 2008


Have you ever thought that you could take a look at someone and notice that they were infected with HIV? If you have thought that, take a look at a young woman who is young and beautiful with no sign of sickness whatsoever, and when you look at her know that she is infected with the HIV virus. Marvelyn Brown, a former top track and basketball star, was young, beautiful, and at a pivotal stage in her young life. She had everything going for her, health, beauty, education, and like most young 19 year-old feamles she was "in love." On one fateful day, when a sudden illness landed her in intensive care, myriad tests revealed that the then 19-year-old had acquired the HIV/AIDS virus.

Now at 24 year's old, she has accepted her status, and is committed to educating and empowering others. Brown's new memoir, ''The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive' (Amistad/HarperCollins, August 2008) reveals her very intimate and personal journey of living with HIV/AIDS.

Embracing the Truth
By Marvelyn Brown

Writing a book about your life is probably one of the most difficult and challenging things one can ever do. It requires you to open up in a way that forces the recollection of memories you'd probably prefer be left in that forgotten mental vault. Writing a memoir also means being open and honest, first and most importantly with yourself. The process can strip you bare, leave you emotionally spent, yet happily free and cleansed. The title of my memoir couldn't be more relevant and appropriate to my experience – 'The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive'.

My name is Marvelyn Brown and I am HIV positive. It took me so long to look in the mirror and be able to utter those words. When I look at myself today, I don't see HIV. What I see instead is a young, beautiful, worthy and positive woman. It is for this reason that I chose to place HIV in parentheses for the title of my book. Why is this important? Because we exist in a world where we continue to define the disease as only affecting people with a certain look or belonging to a certain socioeconomic group. I'm living proof that nothing is farther from the truth.

I was 19 years old, a normal teenager who'd met a guy that I really liked. We had unprotected sex. It only took one time, one impulsive moment, and my life was forever changed. Rather than looking forward to what should have been the "hey day" of my twenties, I was given a death sentence. Suddenly, many of the people I loved and who'd cared about me were afraid to touch me, hug me, kiss me. Many refused to believe I was HIV positive, so the topic was avoided altogether. To be able to look in the mirror and state the truth, what is fact, that I am HIV positive, was a major step for me. It's also the moment when I realized that I do not live with HIV, rather HIV lives with me. And no matter how negatively the world views this virus, I will always love myself, no matter what.

One of my chief concerns is that HIV-positive people may not pick up the book because they are fearful their own HIV status will be revealed by merely purchasing or reading the book. I also fear that HIV-negative people may look at the book and feel sorry for me. Or worst, not read the book at all because they feel HIV is not an issue for them. Might I add, a feeling I likely shared before being diagnosed with HIV. The reality that I pray 'The Naked Truth' brings to light is that HIV is everyone's problem-it is a human disease.

Despite all of the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV/AIDS, I finally quit living my life for everyone else and started living it for me. 'The Naked Truth' is about my journey of finding self-love, self-worth and self-acceptance despite this devastating virus.

The Naked Truth Book Signings
Wednesday, August 27, 20085:- 07:00 PM Virginia State University Foster Hall University Avenue Room 300 Petersburg, VA

2121 Green Hills Village Dr Nashville, TN 37215

Saturday, September 06, 20081-3:00 PMDAVIS KIDD BOOKSELLER
387 Perkins Ext Memphis, TN 38117

Wednesday, September 10, 20087-8:30 PMBORDERS BOOKSTORE6081 Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Friday, September 12, 20086:30- 8 PMMARCUS BOOKSTORE 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. WayOakland, CA 94609

Thursday, September 18, 20085- 7:00 PMHOWARD UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE 2225 Georgia Ave NW Washington, DC 20059

If Martvelyn comes to your area, please check her out, she's quite a powerful young BLACK sister, with information that our community needs.

1 comment:

Civ said...

I definitely commend this sista for telling her story. Unfortunately I believe in the near future this is going to be a lot of our young people stories …and that’s the scary and sad part. I’m praying for us.