Monday, April 14, 2008



Three best friends learn to take the risk of HIV/AIDS seriously as they navigate romantic relationships in an urban environment mired in economic strife, drugs, and limited options.

Reflections addresses HIV testing, self-esteem, communication, drugs, dating, commitment, and friendship.

Reflections was written by 17-year old Keyana Ray of Maywood, IL, a suburb outside of Chicago. The film was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball), shot by Johnny Jensen (Rosewood), and produced by Billy Higgins (Honey) and stars Dominique Stallings, Madeekah Smith and Itasia Wyatt.

Click here for the full cast and crew.

* 2006 National Contest Winner, Maywood, IL
* Keyana Ray and Gina Prince-Bythewood interviewed on nationally syndicated radio program "The Michael Baisden Show" in 2007
* Premiered on BET in February of 2007. Aired multiple times on BET in 2007
* Screened at The 26th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
* Screened at the New York AIDS Festival, 2007
* Aired on Manhattan Neighborhood Network

The story behind the story

Keyana's story was selected as part of a special national contest that Scenarios launched in 2006 with the RAP IT UP campaign – a partnership of BET and the Kaiser Family Foundation. When the question "What's the REAL DEAL on Growing Up in the Age of HIV/AIDS?" was posed, Keyana knew she had plenty to say on the subject. Her beloved aunt had been a poet and HIV/AIDS awareness activist and Keyana was already following in her footsteps as a prolific poet herself.

Keyana flew to Los Angeles, CA to meet with director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) and husband Reggie Rock Bythewood (Get on the Bus, Biker Boyz) to develop her script. One of the most heavily debated aspects of Keyana's script was the central character's fate after her HIV test. Keyana felt strongly that it was important to show that although treatments are becoming more effective, HIV/AIDS is still a disease with serious consequences. Without scaring her audience, Keyana wanted to ensure that viewers understand how devastating the consequences of unprotected sex can be.

Reflections was filmed in Keyana's hometown of Maywood, Illinois in November 2006. Keyana has since graduated from Proviso East High School and is considering college options, including Columbia College in Chicago and School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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