Member of “The Prancing Elites” reveal he’s HIV + and says he feels sorry for women

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By AL

The cloud that had been hanging over  “The Prancing Elites Project” finally burst in its sixth episode, with team member Kareem Davis putting a name to the ailment that had been troubling him.

Like every previous episode of the series focusing on the Mobile-based dance team, this one had its share of silliness. But that faded to insignificance as Davis, who had been shown physically and emotionally struggling for several episodes, opened up about the decline he’d begun to feel several months earlier: The fear that he had cancer, the depression, the stress. “Everything was like loading a gun, loading a gun, loading a gun,” he said. “Then I get diagnosed with HIV. And that’s like the gun fired. There it is. There it is.”

His teammates struggled to find the words. “I just wish it wasn’t you,” said Jerel Maddox. “Because I know you’re not the type of person who goes out and just … I just wish it wasn’t you.”

“I’ve never been boy crazy,” Davis said, explaining that anger was one of the emotions he’d been carrying. “I did everything I was supposed to do in my relationship. I thought I was in a fairy tale. I thought I was in happily ever after. And then I was cheated on.” He could feel sympathy for “wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends” infected by unfaithful partners, he said.

In the end, it was Tim Smith who was the first to rebound, praising Davis’ strength and reaffirming the spirit that team leader Kentrell Collins soon spelled out: “We don’t want him to fight this battle by himself,” Collins said. “Prancing Elites has five members, not four.”

Though they would soon be overshadowed by more serious matters, the episode opened with its share of antics. The team made a commitment to perform during an Orange Beach dinner cruise, then visited the studios of WZEW-FM 92.1 to record a promotional spot, then hit the Orange Beach Aquatics Center for a minimally successful attempt to teach Collins to swim. Then came the cruise itself. One memorable moment: Emerging from its car in tight costumes that might best be described as majorette outfits inspired by sailor suits, the squad of five gay men took a quick moment for “boobie checks” and “thrust checks” to tamp down on any wayward bulges that might mar the feminine nature of their dance.

Doubtless there is more such whimsy ahead in the second half of the series. But things have changed. For one, the Oxygen channel has announced a partnership with the National Minority AIDS Council “to provide resources and information about the serious impact HIV and AIDS continues to have on our communities.”

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