Project

Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica

Poet and writer Kwame Dawes travels to Jamaica to explore the experience of people living with HIV/AIDS and to examine the ways in which the disease has shaped their lives. The journey brings him in touch with people who tell their stories, share their lives and teach him about resilience, hope and possibility in the face of despair. Some are living with the disease; others have committed their lives to HIV/AIDS care.

Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica is a multi-media reporting project: an extended essay by Kwame Dawes for The Virginia Quarterly Review (Spring 2008), two short documentaries for the public-television program Foreign Exchange, a collection of poetry inspired by his reporting, a performance of the poems set to music by composer Kevin Simmonds, and LiveHopeLove.com, an interactive web presentation that synthesizes audio and text versions of the poems, the Foreign Exchange videos, additional video interviews, the music, and photography by Joshua Cogan.

Launch the Emmy and Webby award-winning interactive site LiveHopeLove.com

The Pulitzer Center's reporting on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean was made possible with support from the MAC AIDS Fund.

Learning to Speak: The New Age of HIV/AIDS in the Other Jamaica

There are two Jamaicas.

Tourists see the north coast country—its all-inclusive hotels, sunny beaches, and high-end restaurants—and a few fleeting glimpses of what most believe is the worst privation they have ever witnessed. They see half-naked children, zinc-roofed homes, hustled trinkets, and they think poverty. They think they are seeing the other Jamaica, but they are not.

Talking HIV in Jamaica

A synthesis of video, photographs, poetry and music, all inspired by Kwame's reporting in Jamaica, can be found on the Emmy award-winning interactive site: www.livehopelove.com

As featured on "Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal." A News and Politics editor's pick on YouTube, this video began airing on March 28, 2008.

Stigma and discrimination are fueling the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, those living with HIV often face social isolation and harassment.

Positive Outlook

As featured on "Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal." Once a poster child for living HIV+ in Jamaica, Annesha Taylor knows firsthand that life after a positive diagnosis is not an easy one. The campaigns showing that there is life after a positive diagnosis are right — HIV is not a death sentence. But strong stigma and the difficulties of juggling family life, the batteries of medication and bouts of depression have left Annesha fighting to survive.

Wisteria & HOPE review in the Winston-Salem Journal

Grand: The piece makes a wonderful whole

Pulitzer Center

Tim Clodfelter, The Winston-Salem Journal

Poet Kwame Dawes provided the words for HOPE & Wisteria, two back-to-back performance pieces that explore different aspects of the black experience. But his contribution, vital as it is, is only one part of the puzzle. Each production is a multimedia piece using music, images and Dawes' poetry.

HOPE: Excerpts from the National Black Theatre Festival

HOPE is a multimedia performance based on poems by Kwame Dawes, poet in residence at the University of South Carolina and set to music by composer Kevin Simmonds. The work grew out of a Pulitzer Center commission to report on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Jamaica, the country where Kwame Dawes grew up. While in Jamaica Dawes wrote poems in response to the stories he heard.

"A feast for the eyes and ears," Wisteria & HOPE in the News and Observer

WINSTON-SALEM -- Poetry, music and photography combine to explore HIV/AIDS in Jamaica and the experiences of Southern black women in "Wisteria & HOPE," a dual production tonight at the National Black Theatre Festival.

The evening opens with "Wisteria," based on a series of poems that Kwame Dawes, the University of South Carolina distinguished poet, wrote in 1995 to document the lives of African-American women.