By Gerald Garth of the National AIDS Institute
In urban speak, when someone is sikning, he or she looks so good, they make you sick, but always meant in complete admiration (with a slight connotation of politically acceptable jealousy). Like so many elements of popular culture, this term was born in the iconic gay house ball scene. But what is it to be “Absolutely Sikning?” Absolutely Sikning, Inc., founded and led by Kecia Johnson, is a firm and movement centered on empowering those who are overcoming challenges in relationships, business, life, and especially those challenges related to battling illness. “I have always said that when a person is diagnosed with something, whether it is cancer, AIDS, lupus or what have you, they have been called and designed for a special purpose. It is our mission [at Absolutely Sikning] to give encouragement, strength and a sense of purpose to those living with life-threatening illnessES, all while feeling beautiful,” she says with strength and passion. In a striking, red wrap dress and sky-high leopard print pumps, Kecia embodies just that.
Kecia J, as she is affectionately called, created Absolutely Sikning two years ago in an effort to show the world that an illness is far from the end of the road for a person. “I began speaking at high schools and local community events to emphasis the importance of HIV/AIDS awareness. Since then I have traveled nationally, while working for various major record labels, utilizing my platform to educate through the power of music.” Kecia is so passionate about helping others feel their best when overcoming illness, because she is a living example; she herself is thriving while living with AIDS.
She candidly tells her story. “I had the chills and did not feel like my normal self,” she recalls. “After visiting a friend, I took a shower, and after about three minutes everything went blank. I remember waking up in an ambulance.” Hospitalized nearly three weeks with severe pneumonia, she had no idea what was wrong. Then a doctor walked in and asked, “How have you been coping with your AIDS?” “I came out of the hospital not shedding any tears,” she says. “I vowed that I was going to educate the world on the importance of self-worth and self-education on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
A music industry insider with 9 years of artist management experience, Kecia decided to use her knowledge of working in the music industry with notable names as a way to spread awareness nationally. “Prior to being diagnosed, I worked [with such labels as Def Jam, So So Def, and Slip N Slide Records] as a manager and brand specialist. One day while I was working out, I realized that the key to HIV/AIDS awareness was education through music.” …and Absolutely Sikning Inc. was born!
“We have various women and men of all illnesses that go out and speak to empower those who have lost hope and feel alone in their fight to battle the disease at hand.” Today, she is surviving and thriving in Los Angeles, having created her own company and most recently releasing her memoir, “Dying To Be D.I.V.A.: Memoir of a True Survivor — Doing It Vivaciously Alone.”
“The memoir is my story of fighting to find my true self through different life events and trying to live up to what I thought my surrounding world wanted me to be.” And it is no question, Kecia is truly living. “Being diagnosed was never a death sentence for me. Not even when the doctor uttered, “You have AIDS.” I made a promise to myself the moment that I was diagnosed to never be the victim. The fact that I am still breathing and alive and well and able to share my story eight years after an AIDS diagnosis is all the drive I need to keep me going!” Johnson describes herself as “fabulous, fierce and aware.” And to meet this D.I.V.A, you would agree. And not only that, she is Absolutely Sikning.
For more information about Kecia,
Absolutely Sikning, or Dying to be D.I.V.A, visit www.iamkeciaj.com.