We can’t wait to see this!
Salim Gauwloos — better known as Slam — was one of the dancers on Madonna‘s Blond Ambition world tour back in 1991, and he even infamously danced in her iconic video for Vogue and starred in her Truth Or Dare documentary that year.
But he saved the juiciest part of the story for 2016!
The dancer, now 25 years removed from his iconic work with the Queen of Pop, is taking part in a brand new documentary called Strike A Pose that is premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, and in it, he’s ready to discuss his time with Madonna, his experiences as a backup dancer, and — surprisingly — how he went through that entire tour while HIV positive!
As we would later learn, Slam was one of three dancers on Madonna’s tour — the other two being Carlton Wilborn and Gabriel Trupin — who was living with HIV during the 1991 tour and documentary shoot.
And now, Slam is opening up about that experience for the very first time!
While promoting the documentary, Slam told POZ about his HIV diagnosis, which he says he contracted four years before dancing with Madge:
“I just moved [to New York] for six months, but something wasn’t right with my kidney. I had no insurance here, so went back to Belgium and did tests. Everything was good, but for some reason, I got a call to come back to the doctor. I thought, That’s odd. I went back and they told me, ‘We did an HIV test, and you are HIV positive.’ And my mom was sitting there. I was uneducated about it, just a kid out of ballet school. I knew nothing about it. I never even gave them permission to do an HIV test. And I had only had sex one time. It was my first sexual experience. I didn’t even get to be a slut! [Laughs.] And I remember, I made the choice├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ ‘No, don’t worry about it. Don’t use a condom.’ I remember it vividly.”
He went through the entire tour and never told Madonna about it, either:
“I thought about it. But if I would have told anyone at that time, I would have been a Debbie Downer. And it was such a great moment, and I needed that moment to escape and survive. Probably Carlton and Gabriel did too.”
We certainly never guessed watching him in Truth Or Dare.
After years of turmoil that Slam describes in the documentary, it seems like he’s in a better place now, as HIV continues to be further taken away from the negative stigmas of the past:
“You don’t really hear about HIV anymore … I’m supposed to be dead. But I take my medication now, and I live healthy. Not everybody survives or can be on the pills such a long time, and some people do have side effects. Young people, you gotta be careful. That’s what I want to make clear … [But now] it’s great. We are still the same people. It’s just that life happens├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥25 years is a big chunk. But here we are, going through all this stuff. I hope that we get to inspire people the same way we did 25 years ago.”
It’s amazing to hear Slam’s story after all these years, but also a relief to know he’s doing so well!
And we can’t wait to see the whole story in Strike A Pose!