Last week, the New York City area was the setting for a series of screenings showcasing a new short film, “90 Days”, which depicts a Black couple struggling with the issue of HIV.

Above photo: ​L to R (Harlem, Feb 22, 2017 at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture): Richard E. Pelzer II, Dr. Carol Mclean-Long, Michèle Dorsainvil, Nic Few, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Nathan Hale Williams, ​​C. Virginia Fields and Rodney Chester – Photos Courtesy of Alonzo Boldin

By Nathan James

The film, which stars Teyonah Parris and Nic Few, Rodney Chester, and Pauletta Washington, was received with much critical acclaim for tackling a tough subject, and starting a new discussion on approaches to address the epidemic. Written by accomplished filmmaker Nathan Hale Williams, and co-directed by Williams and Jenna Fredrique-Aponte, the picture was screened at three locations beginning February 22, including Harlem’s Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture, Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse, and in nearby Newark, NJ, at the recently opened Express Newark space on the campus of Rutgers University.

I wanted to do this film and make a difference,” Williams stated, “and I’m so honored to be working with such amazing people“.

Each screening was accompanied by a panel discussion, where the film, and the state of HIV in the community was explored.

At the Harlem screening, the event was hosted by former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, who now heads the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), which supported the film alongside other groups, such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), HIV Stops with ME, Circle of Voices, Inc., H.U.G.S. Movement, Miss Jessie, Unity Fellowship Church Newark and M. Boutique.

The dialogue touched on HIV in various parts of the United States, particularly in the South, where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cited several factors making this area among the hardest-hit in the country.

​L to R (Harlem, Feb 22, 2017 at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture): Patrick Riley, Roscoe Boyd, Richard E. Pelzer II, C. Virginia Fields, Nic Few, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Nathan Hale Williams, Musa Jackson and Christopher Johnson – Photos Courtesy of Alonzo Boldin

“I fully agree with that assessment,” Fields told GBMNews, “and we have to move forward decisively”.

Among the distinguished attendees and panelists joining the “90 Days” cast and crew at the various screenings, were Rev. Kevin E. Taylor, a longtime advocate, activist and pastor to the LGBT community, Kaz Mitchell and Jean Wimberly of Circle Of Voices, Marsha Bonner, talk-show impresario Patrick Riley, Rev. Jae Quinlan, and HIV/AIDS advocate Sheldon DeSouza.

It’s important to address the issues of stigmatization, education, and use of preventive measures like PrEP,” said Dr. Carol McLean-Long, “our futures depend on this.”

Williams and Fredrique-Aponte plan to take their project around the country on a special 90 DAYS: ADVOCACY, ACTIVISM & STORYTELLING tour, to bring discussions about healthy relationships, HIV prevention education and awareness to other cities. To discover more about Williams, and his groundbreaking film, visit their website here.

Nathan Hale Williams and Jennia Fredrique-Aponte were honored by the honorable NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. of District 36 – Brooklyn, while his Chief of Staff Stefani Zinerman presented the NY City Council Citation for to their many years as filmmakers,innovators and trendsetters in the Film/Entertainment and Media Industries.

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L to R (Brooklyn Feb 23, 2017 at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn): HIV Stops with Me, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Hector Xtravaganza, Nic Few, Kim Canady, Jahlove Serrano & Nathan Hale Williams — NBLCA, Eishelle Tillery, Richard E. Pelzer II, Margaret Reneau, Stefani Zinerman & Nathan Hale Williams

L to R (Brooklyn Feb 23, 2017 at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn): Stefani Zinerman, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Nic Few, Nathan Hale Williams & Rodney Chester​

L to R (Brooklyn Feb 23, 2017 at Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn): Circle of Voices, Inc. Nic Few, Jean Wimberly, Kaz Mitchell, Nathan Hale Williams & Jennia Fredrique-Aponte

​L to R (Newark Feb 25, 2017 at Express Newark – Rutgers University Newark): H.U.G.S. Movement, Richard E. Pelzer II, Rev. Jae Quinlan, Dr. M. Ishmael Griffin, Kevin E. Taylor, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Nathan Hale Williams and Marsha R. Bonner

The AMAZING new space at Express Newark – Rutgers University Newark – Dr. M. Ishmael Griffin, Rev. Jae Quinlan, Jennia Fredrique-Aponte, Nathan Hale Williams and Marsha R. Bonner​