March #142 : The New 90210? - by Kellee Terrell

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The Long Haul

Native Soul

The POZ Diabetes Diet Makeover

Quitting Time

Boosting Immunity

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Staph Memo

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Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

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What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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March 2008

The New 90210?

by Kellee Terrell

A gay African-American TV series takes sex in the city to a new, more HIV-savvy demo

When Arkansas native Dwight O’Neal, now 24, hit New York City with dreams of acting and modeling, he never imagined he’d produce his own TV series. But in 2006, along with writing partner Steven Emmanuel, now 19, he created Christopher Street (CS), a half-hour dramedy named after New York’s legendary gay thoroughfare. The show, which traces the lives and loves of four gay African-American friends, has yet to find a network home. But the sharp pilot episode is available on DVD ($9.99; The second installment, which films soon, features an HIV subplot. POZ pressed O’Neal for details.

POZ: Why did you make CS?

O’Neal: I wanted young people dealing with their sexuality to have someone to look up to and get advice from. I didn’t have that when I came out.

POZ: Share some of the issues your characters face.

O’Neal: Coming out, abusive relationships, being broke and in college, [finding] self-love and [dealing with] HIV. The second episode features a character who has an HIV scare.

POZ: What do you hope that CS will accomplish?

O’Neal: If the program ends up getting [a regular home on] network television, I would be ecstatic. But we have already accomplished a main goal: Last summer, we traveled to six cities across the United States to show the pilot and to talk about safer sex and HIV. The fans showed us so much love. That was truly my dream.

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