Mykki Blanco announced on Friday night that he has been HIV positive since 2011. The rapper, poet, and performance artist shared the information via Facebook. “F-ck stigma and hiding in the dark, this is my real life,” he wrote. “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.”
Support flooded in from fans and commenters. He responded to many and wrote things like, “No more living a lie. HAPPY PRIDE,” and, “But its been 5 years for me, meds, garlic, limes, yogurt lol world travel. I just cant be an image living in fear having people call me brave and it being a lie. Thank you for your support.”
Blanco even made reference to the way the music industry treats artists with illness. “The music industry ain’t gonna like i admitted this so if a curator could help me move more into the art world that would be awesome,” he wrote in a comment.
Blanco, whose real name is Michael Quattlebaum Jr., was one of the first openly queer hip-hop artists and has been active in LGBT activisim, most recently speaking out against Russia’s repressive laws against “gay propoganda.” Last year year, while speaking to EW about his 2014 release Gay Dog Food, Blanco said he was “annoyed” when he was called a “gay rapper.”
“It annoys me less that it’s confining,” he said. “It annoys me because it’s stupid. With the music I’m making right now, if you don’t even want to call me a rapper, that’s okay.”