Things That Matter

Sia’s Music Video For ‘Free Me’ Aims To Raise HIV Awareness With Powerful Performance By Zoe Saldana

Enigmatic Australian singer Sia, who is known for songs such as “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” — as well as hiding her face as much as possible — teamed up with Julianne Moore and Zoe Saldana recently. They collaborated on a music video for Sia’s new single, “Free Me,” and to also raise awareness for #EndHIV, a campaign to raise funds for HIV treatment research.

In this powerful music video for Sia’s “Free Me,” actress Julianne Moore narrates a deeply emotional moment where a pregnant mother (Zoe Saldana) is told by her doctor that she has HIV.

Credit: Sia / Youtube

The doctor continues, telling her that without proper treatment, she could possibly pass the virus on to her child. The music swells and the world around the mother, played perfectly by Saldana, melts away.

We proceed Sia-style, through a dark world of dance and emotions.

Credit: Sia / Youtube

Dancers join her, throwing her around, catching her, moving with her and seemingly ripping her apart as she tries to come to terms with what is happening to her. The dancers fight with one another, signifying the battle going on in her body.

At one point, Saldana dances alone with a backdrop of lights.

Credit: Sia / Youtube

She performs an interpretive dance to the hypnotic music, reaching out with clawed hands, only to have those hands pulled back. It’s a truly intense and bewildering dance that evokes some really strong and powerful emotions.

The video ends in with a powerful message.

Credit: Sia / Youtube

It also ends in tears: the mother’s tears, her baby’s tears and of course, our tears. A message for HIV awareness is narrated again by the sweet-voiced Julianne Moore as the video fades to black.

Watch the whole video below for the full effect.

Credit: Sia / Youtube

Remember to bring the tissues.

And if you know someone struggling with HIV, go to EndHIV.com to learn about the experimental treatment the video is promoting.


READ: Leave It To Zoe Saldana To Take Something As Dark As Her Character’s Baggage And Turn It Into A Message Of Strength And Redemption


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Zoe Saldana Apologizes For Portraying Nina Simone In 2016 Biopic

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Zoe Saldana Apologizes For Portraying Nina Simone In 2016 Biopic

John Minihan / Evening Standard / Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Most of our favorites have a biopic highlighting their lives in ways we didn’t know them. In 2016, Nina Simone’s biopic was released with Zoe Saldana portraying her. There was a backlash then but Saldana did the movie anyway. Now, she’s sorry she did.

Zoe Saldana is showing remorse for portraying Nina Simone in a biopic years ago.

“I should have never played Nina,” Saldana says in a live video that has been shared on social media. “I should have done everything in my power with the leverage that I had 10 years ago, which was a different leverage, but it was leverage nonetheless. I should have done everything in my power to cast a black woman to play an exceptionally perfect black woman.”

Saldana continued with her apology by asking someone else to tell Simone’s story.

“She’s one of our giants and someone else should step up,” Saldana says. “Somebody else should tell her story.”

Saldana continues saying that Simone’s story has yet to be told on a large scale and it is a shame that more people have not heard her story, likely because of the biopic drama.

People are questioning Saldana’s motives for apologizing.

Simone’s family pushed back asking Saldana not to take the role in the past. They called her out for taking Simone’s legacy and taking the portrayal for someone who would have been better suited to tell the story.

Specifically, people are calling Saldana out for the colorism that played into her portrayal.

In the apology, Saldana does not mention the colorism that played a role in the backlash. Simone was a dark-skinned woman whose skin was important in her civil rights activism and identity. Saldana also had to wear a prosthetic on her nose to have the same nose as the singer.

While critics feel the same sentiment about Saldana as Simone, they want more from her apology.

Colorism is a very important conversation in the Black community. Saldana’s portrayal of Simone was a keystone moment in that discussion of colorism in the Black community. Many are still angered at Saldana’s portrayal of Simone because of the use of blackface and prosthetic to off-set Saldana’s European looks.

READ: Leave It To Zoe Saldana To Take Something As Dark As Her Character’s Baggage And Turn It Into A Message Of Strength And Redemption

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Second Person Cured Of HIV Is Reported To Still Be Free Two Years Later

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The Second Person Cured Of HIV Is Reported To Still Be Free Two Years Later

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Just a small bit of good news during these hard times.

Adam Castillejo, an Argentinian man based in London is known as the second person ever to be cured of HIV. Two years after being cured of the disease he is still free of the virus.

Last week, The Lancet HIV revealed in their medical journal that Castillejo finished HIV antiretroviral therapy.

In his efforts to treat lymphoma, Castillejo underwent a stem cell transplant. At the time, his donor carried a mutation known as CCR5-delta 32. CCR5-delta 32 is resistant to HIV and researchers said treatment for his lymphoma not only saved Castillejo’s life but also cured him of HIV.

According to CNN, “HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a life-long viral infection that attacks the body’s immune system and can have significant health consequences. There is no widely available cure, however, the virus is treatable with a combination of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy that reduces the amount of virus in a person’s blood and it is preventable by using PrEP.”

PrEP was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012 for medical use.

According to UNAids there 37.9 million people across the globe were living with HIV in 2018.

“Our findings show that the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin patient, can be replicated,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor at the University of Cambridge’s clinical microbiology department.

As part of his lymphoma treatment, Castillejo underwent one stem-cell transplantation and did not have radiotherapy treatment applied to his whole body as part of his treatment.

Castillejo’s recovery form HIV is a light in studies related to the treatment of the virus and ways in which to pursue less intensive treatment approaches to curing it. “It is important to note that this curative treatment is high-risk, and only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening hematological malignancies,” Gupta warned about the potential to use a similar method in pursuing invasive treatment of the virus.

Because of the high risks involved with such curative treatment, it is not one being offered broadly to patients with HIV.

This is particularly true when it comes to those that on successful antiretroviral treatment.

The great news is that Castillejo is the second reported patient to undergo this experimental treatment. The authors on his study have said that while he will require extensive observation it won’t have to be quite as regular.

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