By:DeoVonte “Deo” Means
Maliciously exposing someone’s HIV status has long been viewed as a tasteless tactic normally utilized by the weak and defeated. Yet, we still witness from time-to-time a disagreement, “reading session” or shade-fest that includes or ends in a “health-read.” Most times we roll our eyes, view the person that issued the “read” as the loser of the altercation and continue scrolling down our newsfeeds. After all, social media has made us privy and immune to all sorts of “cyber fights”; from the 45th President, celebrities, on down. Yet, what transpired last week shocked even those of us whom have 15+ years in the game and thought we’d perhaps seen it all! I’ve been known to enjoy a good reading session, but this instance left me feeling sick, appalled and disgusted. Rising social media darling Michael Clark was the recipient of the latest attack by a rival social media figure whom has built his platform on “outing” rivals, friends and innocent bystanders on their status. Michael Clark, or Prince Ex as some may know him, has gained an impressive following because he’s charismatic, articulate, charming, honest, hard-working and sexy. He has gained the heart, respect and intrigue of others because he has boldly carved his niche as being one of the very few in our community that not only admits to, but embraces being a strict bottom sexually. As seen through the comments left on his statuses, his preference is truly just that- a preference. His choice in the bedroom was not of my concern. What stunned me was the careless and seemingly transfixed desire Michael’s close friend/rival displayed in his attempt to publicly humiliate him. I could not digest that in 2017 we are using our PUBLIC pages as a platform to hand out health reads! I felt compelled (not sympathy) to reach out to Michael and gain a deeper understanding of the events that transpired. Boy, was I shocked! In our conversation, Michael was open, brutally honest and forth-coming. Here is what he had to say.
FL– Michael, before we begin, the one question that we all want to know is what happened that led up to the chain of events which transpired on social media all last week?
MC– Well first Deo and The Flyy-Life, I’d like to thank you for allowing me the platform to FINALLY tell my side of the story! Here’s the TRUTH! I had a best friend for almost 8 years. I told him my HIV status and he told me something about him. He eventually used my health as blackmail against me. I saw my friend Rafael for the good in him. At times, he would use being drunk as an excuse to throw me and others under the bus or speak on our health statuses. This lead to Rafael revealing my status to a mutual friend of ours from Nevada which I met thru Rafael. Our friend expressed his concern to me about my friendship with and trust in Rafael. He told me Rafael said that I was perhaps jealous of him because “my online talk show isn’t going anywhere” and “that I live in an abandoned house.” This is completely false! In fact, Rafael lives with his mother and is currently unemployed! That night I called and confronted Rafael about the lies and breach of trust. I was honestly hurt. Rafael replied “I do what I want! You were never a real friend anyway!” A slight verbal exchange occurred and he hung up. After discovering the betrayal, I immediately contacted another mutual friend of ours from Philly and informed him Rafael was also stating that he (Tony), was not battling cancer as he had informed the public, but was in fact dying of AIDS. Tony did not take that well and told me not only is it a lie but it’s considered slander. Almost immediately after these private conversations between friends occurred, one of my social media followers sent me a screen shot of what Rafael had just posted publicly! He not only put my HIV status on Facebook, but also exaggerated and inflated my current situation. I am not dying NOR am I spreading the virus; but we will discuss that later. At that point I decided to control my own destiny. I came out and admitted my positive status on every platform I have on social media. As if possessed by an urge to utterly humiliate and destroy me, Rafael then erased the initial post and replaced it with a post saying I’m not only positive, but maliciously spreading the virus. This post is where you and the rest of the world were first exposed to the following week of public attacks over something that was private between friends. I felt under attack, but I remained unbothered. After I posted my HIV status, it seems as if my inbox just lit up! I was given so much love that I became overwhelmed. I started crying! I felt like I turned a curse into a gift! I realized mental illness is a very real problem in our community and I pray Rafael gets the treatment he needs. I am at peace knowing God doesn’t like ugly. Karma is a bitch! My ex-best friend publicly exposed my status because in a private conversation he got caught lying and degrading me and other members of our crew behind our backs. That’s low! What kind of sick twisted person does this to someone they consider a best friend…
FL– Prior to this altercation, was there any behavior displayed that might have warned you that this was not a true friend with your best interest at heart and not someone with whom to share confidential information with?
MC– I caught hints and I ignored them. I saw my friend for the good, but after a while, I noticed he would throw my other friends under the bus and something inside did say that perhaps I would be next. Rafael is insecure and gets offended easily. He’s the type that thinks reading people all the time is cute, but it’s not! In fact, it becomes draining. I thought I could trust him but over the years his mindset began to change and deteriorate. Rafael became all about drama, drinking and having sex. He became obsessed with “reading” people about their HIV status and many times for no reason at all. It became an obsession for views. His social media viewers enjoy that type of behavior and he began to bully innocent spectators just for views. I became appalled at the content on his page and his followers thirst for HIV status “dirt,” especially considering that they are completely unaware that he has “fungal” issues in the anal area that he’s also unable to get rid of. I guess “hurt people, HURT people.” This is another lesson learned that I’ll be putting in my tell all book.
FL– You’ve mentioned that in the past you’ve exhausted all due-diligence to be a true friend and even provide shelter for him in his time of need. Can you recall any time or instance in which you perhaps did or said something of such offense that would trigger this level of anger?
MC– Yes, the poverty Rafael experienced forced him to live with me in almost every apartment I’ve ever had. One time our friend Elle Davenport was around and I suggested to him to stop posting about “wanting a boyfriend” and “going to New York” and to just do it! He took it as shade and responded “that’s why you’re positive and dying!” I knew Rafael was drunk but I still cried a bit because I realized he had this secret, dark cloud over me that he would freely use at any given point. I didn’t dare bring up his health issues. I took the high road. The argument that day was one of our worst and we didn’t talk for months until recently. He reached out to me crying- saying that he was hurt over our broken friendship. This was my friend so of course I gave him another chance and allowed him back in. But I quickly realized things with Rafael had gotten worst. I was being a supportive and loving friend while he displayed nothing but jealousy and even a need to be competitive at times. I suppose my few rain drops of blessings that God bestowed upon me during that time was too much for him to bare.
FL– The initial falling out began as a private disagreement between two friends. Actually, over the phone. Describe to us the emotion you felt the moment you realized he had taken it public and in such a viscous and slanderous manner.
MC– I felt anger! Like I wanted to fuck him up! They didn’t know it but many of my followers is what kept me calm and supported me through this ordeal. Let’s keep in mind, I didn’t start this. This was not some public beef or reading session that I initiated. This was a personal and private issue among friends. He lost a real loyal friend. Rafael posted my HIV status publicly and I took the high road. This led me to post my status all over social because I wanted the world to know the truth…MY truth! When Rafael’s first move didn’t work as planned, he took another step and told his followers that I was infecting people. This is a beyond a lie. It’s delusional. The next morning I contacted an attorney and we are in discussion about my legal remedies. This is slander and I want justice to be served. I hope this makes a clear statement to those that like to expose people for social media. Think before you type! Everyone is watching, sharing and commenting. This was so embarrassing, stressful and completely unnecessary.
FL– In his attack, he not only revealed your status but also accused you of haphazardly “spreading” the virus. What has been the response from your previous partners and has anyone come forward and validated his claim, even if out of malice?
MC– No one has come forward because there isn’t anyone that I have infected. All my ex boyfriends knew about my status and that’s all that matter. I wasn’t out here just getting fucked by everyone. Rafael revealing my status on FB was indeed damaging and depressing but I realized I just want to live in my truth. So he nor anybody else can hold that deep dark secret over my life anymore.
FL– You both have a solid social media following and we’re all aware that HIV affects a vast majority of the community. How has the antics of last week affected your core brand and following? What has been their reaction?
MC– It made my brand a lot better. Now I’m able to be free. I can use my platform to share my mistakes, disappointments and regrets with the youth so that they don’t make the same mistake I did. Anybody can catch HIV. It’s not just something limited to the dirty, lame or ugly of our community.
FL– Before we progress any further, I know you’re working 16 hour days and managing your apartment, grandmothers home, cars, up-coming projects and other normal adult responsibilities; but how’s your overall health though? Are you all good?
MC– My health is amazing! I am undetectable and negative of any other STI’s or aliments that plague our community. I’m blessed by God! I just need to keep my stress levels down. I recently gave up smoking and haven’t had a cigarette in 5 days. I haven’t smoked weed in roughly 5 years and I don’t drink alcohol as much. I normally only drink at special events. Part of my brand is showing people on my FB Live recordings how to love and live a healthy life. Embracing a better life, eating the right foods and working out is key to living a long life with this virus.
FL– In all fairness, many of us have gotten caught up in the heat of an angry moment and ignorantly used a “health read” as a blow. But I’ve never seen the voraciousness of this behavior such as I witnessed last week. How does this make you feel knowing it came from someone whom was supposed to be a close friend?
MC– It makes me feel sad that he was throwing out alternative facts and being delusional. I knew he had a mental illness, I just didn’t know it was this bad. It still perplexes me how someone could gratify themselves by publicly exposing other people health issues.
FL– I can tell from our conversation at 4 AM Saturday morning that you’ve already overcome the situation, but how do you plan to move forward from here?
MC– I forgive him and everyone else that laughed and cheered his behavior on. I forgive any of my followers that may now view me differently. I let It go and gave it to God. I ain’t got no choice but to move on. Having the strength and mindset that I have, I overcome it all.
FL– What are some of the upcoming projects you have in store for us?
MC– I’m writing my tell all book and I’m doing public speeches about HIV prevention. My experience going through cyber bullying, molestation, abuse, domestic violence and escorting also are topics I speak on and mentor about. I’ve been through all this and survived so I share my story.
FL– What message do you have for your followers or those who might find themselves in a similar situation in the future?
MC– This may sound bitter but keep in mind the wound is still fresh. NEVER give too much, always give ENOUGH! Meaning don’t tell anybody all your business. Keep in mind, the Devil was once an angel. You can’t put nothing past anybody these days. Social media addiction is REAL and people are being driven to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for a “like” or two. Anger also plays a part in our culture today. When we have disagreements or falling out’s, people no longer handle the situation privately or decide to go separate ways. Before the call is even completely disconnected, people will rush to social media and divulge all your secrets (even lie) just to hurt and sabotage you while gaining a “viral” post. People are getting exposed in different ways. Some folks get jealous and decide to expose you when you’re merely doing what you need to do in your life to stay afloat. My success speaks volumes and it speaks for itself.
FL– Finally, what last message would you have for Raphael your former friend?
MC– I wish you the best. I forgive you but um… I’m still taking that ass to court! What you’ve done to me and others should be a lesson you’ve learned. Exposing and putting people personal business on FB isn’t worth it. Your followers love the drama and my followers love the TRUTH! You can’t get through life being a bully, reading and being delusional. You can’t live your life in a lie! What’s done in the dark, surely comes to the light! The energy you filtered into trying to expose my health status and humiliate me could have been filtered into you trying to finally get a job, apartment or a car. If you would’ve embraced that mindset, I promise you would’ve been a lot further along THIS week than last week. I’ve learned that you only block your blessings when you do malicious and unnecessary things like those you’ve done. It’s 2017, It’s time to grow up and have more respect for yourself. No matter how fine you may think you are, nobody respects or wants to be with someone that acts so immature, irresponsible and ugly. Therefore, you’ll probably die emotionally alone, but with a few thousand-social media “likes.” How FAB is that……
FL– For those that would like to follow you and keep up with your projects, where can find they find you?
MC– I’m currently in the process of writing a book about my life experiences and what I’ve been through. I think this will help others overcome tough and similar situations in their lives. Stay tuned for that. I can also be found on;
Facebook– Michael Clark or Price Ex
Instagram – princeex26
I’ve known Michael for years. I’ve slept in his bed numerous times (as a friend) and have admired his behaviors as a gay man. Michael has grown to be a strong young man he has pulled his shit together and has always tried to bring his friends along with him by being a role model to them and hoping they see the good from hard work. I think I was one of the first he told about his status. Take the high road and continue your adventures you’ve overcome so much in your life by making good. Stay strong and always be you for you.
Ppl have so much to say about someone’s life how many of y’all even know y’all status or how many of y’all even know anything about ya own life bout so fast to judge tha next one…..plz be humble n sit down….be mindful that not everyone gets tested coz most of y’all on this status I bet dont know ya own status
So many are so fast to try n thru u under tha bus but those be tha ones who trya get in yo bed when tha lights off yea ok man Michael live yo life n fukk these haters