Phill Wilson, attending the International Black Yoga Teacher's Banquet, while wittenessing actress Vanessa Williams recieve an award.

Phill Wilson, reading through the program guide for the International Black Yoga Teacher's Banquet.

Phill Wilson, posing for the camera next to his luxurious pool in his backyard.

Phill Wilson, waiting briefly at Kaiser Hospital, in the hallway, for his name to be called,and takes a moment to smile.

Phill Wilson, getting his blood drawn from a friendly nurse, talks about his experience getting interviewed by UCLA students.



Phill Wilson

Photographer: Lauren Ross

Journalist: Kyla Searle


I am suspicious of Americans who decide that all of their work is going to be in the developing world. It is a matter of abdication and mechanism of sustaining power as long as all the people who know and teach look one way and come from one place and all the students look another way and come from another place.   

It is such a gift to be able to try and make a difference; I get to say 'why don't we do this?' and sometimes it accomplishes the goal and sometimes it doesn't. Like this project here. We get a chance to participate and it may influence someone to do something and we may change because of our participation.  

My inspiration comes from knowing what will happen if I don't succeed. The only evidence that they [friends who passed due to AIDS] were on this planet is that some people are dedicated to ending the epidemic. I miss them every single day; we have to look at what we loose, not just what they lost...we lost their greatness.   

I have been involved since the beginning when it was characterized as a white male disease. This put us in a vulnerable place and we continue to struggle with that. In a world that can be hostile on the question of race people find sanction in race specific environments in which differences threaten to make us vulnerable and the biggest danger is a fear of being hurt. However, although there is an adjustment period, what most often happens [when people reveal their HIV status] is that families come around, especially post ARVs now that there is more time, there is a sense that 'this is my child!' which is born out of that racial experience...your family will find a way to love you.   

The conversation about HIV should therefore start early, not as a conversation about AIDS and STDs but telling children: You are loved, you are worthy, it is worth your time and energy to flourish...  

Griffith Park is my favorite part of Los Angeles--I love to walk around or sit and people watch. Because death is such a present part of my life the things I love most are the things that celebrate life.


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