It would take a while to cover Cassandra’s bio, so let me get to the crux. Cassandra Cooper is quietly on the verge of becoming a force, a major player in the industry. They’ll be much more about this later. For now, we are so fortunate to have her display her writing chops for this episode of Front Seat Chronicles. I recently caught up with her about her intense episode, “If I Tell U.”
Hey Cassandra, I know you’re incredibly busy, so thanks for taking time for this.
No problem, I’m very excited about this project so I will find the time for it, and you.
Among the many things you’re doing, how did you come to be involved with Front Seat Chronicles?
Well I initially pitched an idea for a webseries to PIC.TV
on the topic of HIV/AIDS. When series creator Allen Sowelle showed me a few episodes of the series I thought this was a good way to get the conversation going.
****SPOILER ALERT****When I was editing this episode, most of the feedback could be summed up in one word – “damn.” It’s that impactful. How did you come to choose this topic?
LOL. I love to hear it has the “Damn” factor because that is what is needed sometimes to get people’s attention and that was exactly the point of the piece. The topic was natural choice for me as it’s a lifelong cause of mine. When I was 13 years of age, I had a moped accident, was pronounced dead. Well obviously I survived , when i awoke, I was informed I had, received a blood transfusion. Nearly a year later I was notified the blood may have been tainted. Out of 100 recipients in that time frame I was the only one who WAS NOT positive. The angst I felt waiting on those results , and then the relief when I got the “All clear” lead me to be a proponent very early on. My passion for spreading awareness is as strong today as it has ever was, because i knew it would not be limited to the gay community as most originally thought. My best friend is also living with HIV and has for the past 20 years so I get an up close and personal view of what that’s like also.
With nearly 90% of HIV transmissions due to heterosexual contact, in 2010 alone, according to the CDC, African-American women accounted for over 33% of all female AIDS diagnoses in the US. Five times more that Latinas, nearly 23 times more than White women. What do you see as the number one cause, and where do you see the biggest disconnect?
We do not have open dialog in our homes, churches and the like and sadly many still operate under the he looks clean, she looks clean mentality. They don’t recognize the face of HIV/AIDS is one that looks very much like their own. Many of our men, populate the prison system and some sadly lead alternate down low lifestyles so a good many women do not even know they are at putting themselves at risk, because again we are basing sexual relationships off of appearances alone.
In increasing awareness around prevention in the African-American community, where should it start? Or where should the emphasis be placed?
IT starts in the home, at the schools, at the churches. wherever the nucleus of your community is. They have an obligation to encourage women to be proactive when it comes to SAFER SEX.
When I was directing this episode, I mentioned if I could just work with Walter and Patrice over and over, I will have had a career fulfilled. What do you think about their portrayals of your words?
Walter brought it home for me. I could see his fear and his hopes all slip away at the prospect of the unknown. I am already writing something else with him in mind. He is the next coming. I thought Patrice was credible as well, but Walter really sucked me in. I got goosebumps.
What do you hope is the main takeaway from this episode?
Get tested, Have safer sex.
Cassandra, thank you for enriching our series with your script. I hope we did it justice.
It was my pleasure, I’m working on the next installment for those two. I think we all want to know what happens next, right?