The Red Ribbon Carpet Event of The Year
Rolling out the red carpet
On a Sunday you will normally find me duvet deep on the sofa. Sunday 1st December was a whole other story; red carpet fabulous darling! We Joined forces with Keyth David and BioSure to help host the 10 hour ‘Know Your Status Live’ red ribbon carpet event at Freedom Bar Soho. It was all in support of World Aids Day.
The dress code was red and fabulous, and no one failed to impress. As the guests arrived, they were greeted with an incredible red ribbon balloon arch. Then came some top tunes to get us in the mood from one of the London scenes’ finest DJs, Brent Nicholls. Brent was the first of our incredible guests that donated their time, talent and charisma for free…all in aid of the ‘Making The Difference’ charity. Brent spoke about why he got involved…
“I had to be involved, medically we have come so far, but in our community there is still a stigma. I had to be part of this!”
Just why it was such an important event
Keyth David, the event organiser, articulated just why we need this kind of event…
“Even with doing this event I found there is still an issue within our own community surrounding the tolerance of HIV. Many still want to ignore the subject or distance themselves from it. Even a few prominent figures on the London gay scene didn’t want to be associated with the event. However, there was a lot more that did and this grows more and more each year. I think it was amazing to see the community, gay and straight coming together to be a part of something amazing.”
London’s finest drag queens kick off the night
Freedom bar filled up and the temperature rose with the sea of red-hot dresses, sequins, faux fur jackets and gorgeousness. Was it this or the ‘Positive Vibes’ signature cocktail that produced all those red flush cheeks!
From red to pink…Vanity Von Glow took the mic. With her cheeky Scottish appeal, she whipped up the crowd with her humour and an incredible voice. Vanity delivered some rip-roaring classics to get the night started. Looking like a pink lady she romanced us with ‘Grease’ hit ‘Hopelessly devoted to you’. Up next was 80s anthem ‘Have a little Respect’, which fitted perfectly with the message of the night. Off she hotfooted over to KU bar to more adoring fans!
Meth The Drag Queen dropped by, picked up the mic and pulled in the punters. This was their last chance to get tickets for the live streaming event. With Meth’s persuasive ways and the allure of the BGL Red Bow Tie Boys, passers-by didn’t stand a chance! People started to head down to the basement live studio, but not before grabbing a pic with the trio of hunks. Timmy Essex, Steven Barrett and Mike Singh worked their charms and made everyone feel at ease.
Timmy showed off exactly why we love working with these boys when he commented after the event…
“It was so inspiring to see a cross section of people come together. They are shining a light on such an important cause as well. We are celebrating all the good work that goes on in the fight against AIDS on world aids day itself. Plus enjoying each other’s company and showing we really are a compassionate and tight knit community!”
The Live Streamed Show with Nicola Kelleher
If you know Freedom Bar well, then you wouldn’t have recognised it. As you emerged downstairs you might have sworn you were in some Elstree TV Studio.
TV Presenter Nicola Kelleher hosted the live podcast show like the seasoned pro that she is. Nicola was joined on the sofa by BioSure CEO Brigette Bard, who spoke passionately about sexual health and HIV, HIV Self Testing and treatment.
The floor was opened for questions from the audience and discussion ensued. Yash spoke honestly and articulately about what it was like to live as a positive person in London. Rob Wilde shared his perspective about his experiences of being an escort. BioSure wanted people to feel that they are informed and able to make the choice that’s right for them. To feel positive about testing. They also hoped people will feel positive about being positive (having a positive result). Afterall, HIV is now a treatable and is a totally manageable condition.
Also gracing the stage was porn superstar and HIV self-test advocate Drew Dixon and sex educator Topher Taylor. There was a whole host of other guests who shared their stories and experiences. The stream even included a live self-test right there on screen! The message from BioSure was clear; people should feel empowered to take responsibility for their wellbeing on their own terms. Get tested and Know Their Status.
Life is a cabaret
Almost immediately the studio was transformed back into a performance stage and some loudmouth host took to the stage. Don’t worry I’m not being shady… that loudmouth was me! Never to be one to shy away from the spotlight, I had the honour of hosting the Cabaret! It really was an easy job, as the talent was off the chain!
We kicked off with a raffle, giving some lucky lovlies a goodie bag of BioSure bounty, including a self-test kit. We even had a big bag of Best Gay Life loot for one excited winner.
Our first act on the main stage was up and coming musical theatre talent, Luke Brilley. He performed hits from the west end smash ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. Looking flawless in red high heels, he won over the audience with his charm, humour and west end voice.
The room was stormed with southern charm when the powerhouse Dolly Parton impersonator ‘The Dolly Show’ strutted into the room. She belted out hit after hit, worked the crowd and had everyone up on their feet in joyful hysteria. Talk about star quality… it’s is clear why she is the number one Dolly impersonator in the UK. I found myself in a surreal moment later that night when I realised I was chatting about PREP and sharing a drink with the pint-sized Tennessee blonde icon.
Isidro Ridout brought a different tone with his touching, beautiful and dynamic contemporary dance. It told the story of someone living with HIV. He almost seemed to fly around the stage with a bewitching contradiction of power and fragility, that again brought the audience to their feet!
The show was closed by global house diva, Soraya Vivian. She smashed out the club classics and encouraged all to invade the stage. Everyone was up and dancing and the atmosphere was electric. Soraya has a voice that takes you somewhere that doesn’t seem of this world. Talk about take it to church!
DJ Jay Kay played out the rest of the night to wee early hours. Soon the Dancefloor at freedom was packed, with his edgy beats going down a storm. I have a feeling we will be seeing more of this DJ talent on London scene!
A huge thanks to our community
Brigette Bard, BioSure’s CEO and Founder, summed up the night perfectly…
“The Know Your Status Live 2019 event for World AIDS Day was brilliant and everyone had an amazing evening! The entertainment was absolutely fantastic and I’m convinced that Dolly was actually the real Dolly! Thank you for a fabulous night!”
Thank you to all the acts who made this event what it was. A huge shout-out to the incredible staff at Freedom that helped us make a difference this year on World Aids Day.
Don’t forget to check out our special ‘World Aids Day Edition’ Best Gay Life Podcast. Dave and Shereece will be joined by Best Gay Life Ambassador Mike Singh. It’s out on Spotify, Soundcloud, Google podcast, Apple podcast and Anchor.