Acclaimed adult performer Mr. Marcus is among the contributors featured in Gil L. Roberston’s new book "Not In My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community."
Published by Agate Press, Robertson’s book is a collection of essays by 58 African-Americans including Jesse Jackson, actor Harper Hill, singer Patti LaBelle and former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders.
“The writer contacted me after what happened with Darren James, because that story was so public,” Marcus explains. “I didn’t realize the impact it would have at the time; it spurred a lot of activism within the black community. I’m pro-education, and I’m pro-testing, and I’m pro-black – so I’m glad to be a part of anything to protect and educate and to strengthen the black community, especially in the adult industry.”
In his first-person essay, Marcus addresses the importance of AIDS awareness and HIV testing. He also gives his perspective on the 2004 panic surrounding friend and fellow performer James.
“I was aware that what happened to Darren could’ve happened to me,” Marcus says. “It really hit home for me, because he was my friend on top of everything else. I was one of the people mentioned as a suspect in 2004, even though I hadn’t tested positive. And then, I thought about how the industry treated him after it was discovered. He continued to work, but that was in the back of people’s minds, that he was HIV positive. What I talk about in the book is that instead of sitting by and not doing anything, I took on the role of activist. I organized meetings with other performers, I even arranged for medical advisors to attend.”
“I feel like I come from a realistic point of view, even though my sex life is above-average,” he continues. “There are people who have AIDS in my world, and I didn’t want it to be a big cloud. The book is meant to educate, because AIDS affects the African-American community more [than others].You can know your status and your partner can know your status; you don’t have to have the ignorance that comes with HIV and AIDS. To be honest, a lot of people just don’t know. HIV is our problem, but it’s also going to be the younger generation’s problem; I’ve talked to older people who have been having sex for a long time, and kids who are just about to start having sex. There’s people who vicariously live thru what they see [in porn]…that group of people may have safe sex, but some may just roll the dice – that’s reality. You do have the outspoken person who’s abstinent or monogamous, but that’s not how HIV spreads.”
“The biggest problem is getting people to test,” Marcus adds. “I think the adult industry is a good model for HIV testing. The industry gets attacked from all sides, but one thing we constantly do is test.”
On being chosen for the book, Marcus comments, “I’m in pretty good company! As a black adult film star, I was like, wow! It really reinforces my role, to educate. I think what the author was trying to do was get your attention one way or another, not just through the voices of doctors or a bunch of college professors. He tried to get people who had some sort of experience, whether a little or a lot, with HIV.”