The Cure Chronicles: HIV with Jamar Rogers

Today The Cure Chronicles is delighted to welcome Jamar Rogers. Jamar is a musician certified meditation teacher and HIV activist based in Hollywood, California. His musical talent earned him immense success. On two hit singing competition shows: American Idol and The Voice. During his time on the Voice in 2012, Jamar disclosed his difficult life journey and HIV positive status to the world. Inspiring viewers to reevaluate everything they thought they knew about people living with HIV. His musical career flourished from there. He signed onto a record label, released music, and toured. In recent years, Jamar has incorporated music into his meditation practice. As a certified instructor, Jamar is committed to helping people in marginalized communities use meditation as a tool to improve their wellbeing. He is also a volunteer at the Meantime Men's Group, an organization that helps those living with HIV find Housing and Work. He also works with God's Love We Deliver and the Lower East Side Girls Club.

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Jeff Galvin: Jamar, thank you so much for joining us on The Cure Chronicles today.  

Jamar Rogers: Oh man, it's my pleasure. Are you kidding me? Thank you for having me.  

Jeff Galvin: No, no, no. I mean, you're, you're too nice. You are just amazing. I mean, obviously an accomplished singer, you know, having won awards on American Idol and on The Voice.  

Jamar Rogers: Ish, you know, I got, I got some accolades, but not quite the, not quite the main prize, you know. 

Jeff Galvin: Well, you know, I gotta say that your music is fabulous, but thank you. You know, the greatest stuff I saw about you was actually your TikTok videos, and I'm not a giant TikTok guy, right? I started on Instagram on you, and I was like, 16 posts. What's going on here? That can't possibly be right. I was like, yeah, maybe he's more active on TikTok.And I went down a rabbit hole of watching you and your philosophy. And I just wanna say from the start of our conversation, everybody should take that trip. Okay, we're gonna go ahead and put your TikTok, you know, link in. Hopefully TikTok will still be around here around next year.  

Jamar Rogers: And just so you know, Jeff, if you had just clicked over on Instagram and went to my reels, I have all of the same videos from TikTok on Instagram. It's just not on my main feed. It's on the reels page. Just, you know, just.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh, I'm so glad you said that. You see, here's, I'm a victim of being, you know, 65 years old. Okay. And I'm pretty technical too, but it's like, yeah, I somehow missed that. I saw 16 pictures of you and I was like, you know, he is really more handsome than that. He should have take more photos. Right. I was like, now where's his, where's his reels? I didn't think to click right up at the top there. I wonder.  

Jamar Rogers: Oh, thanks man.

Jeff Galvin: But that is so cool. That is so, your stuff's so cool. So, but we'll get back to that because I really wanna have a conversation about philosophy with you, but I wanna at least take people on your journey.You know, you did an amazing thing between your appearance in American on American Idol and your appearance on The Voice, and that was to, you know, come out  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: About your HIV status.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: No little deal. I mean, I'm telling you and national TV too, you're, you're, and not just national TV, I mean, huge network audience, right. Because I think that that's the right thing to do. I've seen a lot of people, you know, just come, you know, just to be open with their status and, and it's given 'em a lot of peace that they didn't realize they could have. But you took, that took a tremendous amount of courage and commitment. Tell us about it, please. 

Jamar Rogers: Man. It was quite a wild ride. Only, I think the wildest part of it is that I learned to love myself in the process. I learned to accept, my acceptance. I learned acceptance.  

Jeff Galvin: Mm-hmm.  

Jamar Rogers: I had been resisting against the diagnosis for so many years, and by resisting, I mean, I can't believe this, I can't believe this. How could I have been so stupid? Just like really beating myself up, living in this perpetual shame. And you know, one of the reasons I decided to tell everyone in the voice when I initially auditioned, that was not my goal. I did not, that was not a part of my story. I wasn't there. Two things happened. 

During the audition process, I began to really connect to my spiritual core. And I began to feel that it was time to tell the truth. And then another thing happened is I was being blackmailed by someone that I used to love who had said, you know, if you ever become famous, I'm gonna tell everyone. 

So it was a two-parter. I felt in my heart it was time, but I also wanted to take my power back. I wanted to control the narrative that I didn't want anyone to feel that they had that kind of power over me. So I decided to stand on stage and tell it myself, and in that moment I felt more empowered than I ever had. 

Now in that moment, I felt it. The very next day I felt like crap. I felt like garbage idea. Like what were you thinking? 

[00:05:11] Jeff Galvin: What did I do? I just made my problem 10 times worse. Right. You know, especially I haven't totally gotten off over your self stigma. Right?  

[00:05:19] Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

[00:05:19] Jeff Galvin: So you're still kicking yourself and then you're like, and now everybody right knows about my shame. It's like,  

[00:05:24] Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

[00:05:25] Jeff Galvin: But, but that was the start of journey.  

[00:05:27] Jamar Rogers: Something magical happened, Jeff. Something magical happened the day after my blind audition aired. I remember I was running some errands and walking around the Bronx, New York, and this old man stops me. He goes, "Hey, I saw you on TV last night." And then he gets tears in his eyes. 

And he's like, "Poppy, I'm a former heroin addict. I got HIV in the eighties. I've never seen anyone stand on stage and say it so proudly. Thank you for representing us. And in that moment I was like, okay, I think I did something good. I think I did something good. And since then it has just been, I've gotten DMs, I've gotten messages, I've gotten so much support from people saying, Hey, because of you, I was able to tell my family, I was able to go get help. 

I was able to go get tested. And so, yeah, I, I'm really quite proud of what, of what I did. Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh, absolutely. You know, we, I hear that story frequently with, from people that come on the Cure Chronicles, that when they became public with their status, when they started talking about their experience, they gave license, they gave, you know, sort of like support and comfort to other people to make that journey and to find some of the peace of mind that they had sometimes inadvertently found in their own life.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: Right?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: And, and when I hear what you just said, I mean, like, you know, the arc of what you just said you went through is so common, but man, what you did was you just dialed it up to a 10, right, because of how public this was. Right? But all the same things are happening, and I hope, you know, that's one of the messages that people take away from The Cure Chronicles is that, you know, look at your life now. I mean, I didn't even wanna talk HIV with you on this, on this thing in some ways, because it is such a minuscule part of your life. Right. Okay. So you're, you know, you are treating it, you're not contagious. You can never get aids. Mm-hmm. You know, you're no different than anyone else walking around on the street. You know, you're you. Nobody has any reason to fear you. And really nobody has any reason to stigmatize you, but you can even have empathy for those people because you stigmatize yourself for a little bit, right? 

Jamar Rogers: I do. I do too. I do. Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: But you found self-love, right? Which I think is, you know, sort of the theme of your TikToks is like, you know, where you, where you ended up, right? The TikToks are like, You know, hey bestie, you know, and you look like all of a sudden you're laying on something. I'm like, took me 65 years to understand that this, this young whipper snapper! He gets me! Darn you Jamar! I thought I was smart.  

Jamar Rogers: We all suffer the human condition man. I think and I think that that's what I realized, that there is more that we have in common than what separates us.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh my God.  

Jamar Rogers: I started recognizing the oneness in us and we all-Here's what we all have an inherent need to be seen, to be understood, to be loved, and I find that stigma is rooted in fear. 

Most negative emotions are rooted in fear. And so when I was able to stop taking people's rejection personally and realize they were just afraid. They were afraid by everything they had ever heard about the virus, all of the movies and the films that were, and TV shows that were out, that showed that it was such-that it was a death sentence. 

So once I got over the fear of it, I was then able to extend compassion and mercy to others that don't quite understand it, and I don't take it personally.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, I think that's very important. You know, you said that in one of your TikTok videos as well, you know, that you can, you can go ahead and still have empathy and understanding for, you know, the people that stigmatize HIV and the, you know, the racists and the homophobes, right? 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. 

Jeff Galvin: I mean, like. Yeah, exactly. Like we're all human to the core and we're all the same and, and there, but for the grace of God or for the grace of the universe, 'cause whether you believe in God or not,  

Jamar Rogers: Whatever it is.  

Jeff Galvin: You gotta accept the universe.  

Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Right. It's there man. It makes the rules. We live in it and we need to find some, you know, peace of mind and peace and comfort in it. 


Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: So, okay. So we don't have to even argue about religion anymore. The fact is, is that physics works. Chemistry works, biology works. You know, you can look out there. The universe is there, you know it is. You know, it is what it is. It is what it is, are really important in it. We as individuals are important, and that means everybody else is important too.That comes across again in all of your TikToks. It's like-  

Jamar Rogers: Wow, man.  

Jeff Galvin: It's just terrific. I think it's terrific stuff. If you're feeling in pain, if you're feeling anxiety, if you're feeling alone, you know all those stuff. There's a, there's something for you in Jamar's, TikTok.  

Jamar Rogers: Oh man, wow.  

[00:10:19] Jeff Galvin: There's something in there that will engage with you and you speak really well to the camera that comes from being an artist. 

Right. We, you know, feelings, right? You know, you, you, you have 'em and you can express 'em through your art. And one part of your art is your TikTok.  

[00:10:34] Jamar Rogers: Thank you. Well, wow. I never, yeah, you're right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

[00:10:37] Jeff Galvin: Absolutely. 

[00:10:38] Jamar Rogers: I never really looked at it that way, but you're right. Yeah.  

[00:10:40] Jeff Galvin: Yeah. Yeah. So alright. So let's talk a little bit more about, you know, you sort of kicking off your facade, kicking off your, you know, your getting over your shame, right? 

[00:10:57] Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

[00:10:57] Jeff Galvin: The needless shame, right?  

[00:11:00] Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

[00:11:01] Jeff Galvin: You're coming to this place of, you know, sort of inner peace and then even your desire to serve humanity in a way, right?  

[00:11:11] Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

[00:11:11] Jeff Galvin: You know, cause I feel like that this is what we have in common is like the joy that I take from our mission here at AGT. The idea of, you know- 

[00:11:19] Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

[00:11:20] Jeff Galvin: Curing HIV. What I feel is that, yeah, this is a piece of the whole idea of what I want for humanity, right?  

[00:11:31] Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

[00:11:32] Jeff Galvin: In other words, like if I could help to remove some of those impediments and even The Cure Chronicles are about that. Like, if we can touch some lives out there and let them know, you know, together, right? 

Because you, you've done this journey like so many other people on The Cure Chronicles, you know, from hopelessness in a way, right? Like think about what a, well I don't need to tell you to think about it. You know, what is an HIV diagnosis like, right? You know, like you, unless you just happen to have been studying HIV forever, you know, it's gotta be like one of the most traumatic and frightening events of one's existence. 

And, you know, that can send you a whole bunch of different directions. Right. You know, like people's fear of that will actually make them other you because they wanna believe that they're different enough that they don't have to worry about what you're going through.  

[00:12:31] Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

[00:12:31] Jeff Galvin: 'Cause it could never touch them. I mean, there's, this is just human psychology, right? 

[00:12:35] Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. 

[00:12:36] Jeff Galvin: There's the homophobe, there's the, you know, the person who stigmatizes you looks at you and decides you must be like this. None of which is true. Makes all those assumptions, which by the way, you, in your TikTok, one of the things you say is, "Hey, don't make assumptions just be brave enough to ask." 

[00:12:52] Jamar Rogers: Right. True. Wow. You did your research. 

[00:12:56] Jeff Galvin: Oh, I didn't, it wasn't research, man. It was just fun going through those things.  

[00:13:01] Jamar Rogers: Wow.  

[00:13:01] Jeff Galvin: Like it was one head after another, and I gotta tell people keep going. Okay. Because you know you're going, one of the things I noticed is that even your TikTok are on an arc. It's all good stuff, but don't miss the early things because you know, you, you think you get the things that have come recently. It's all good, man. Keep going.  

[00:13:20] Jamar Rogers: Thanks man. And I think that what I'm doing when you're funny about the arc. I'm literally just talking about the lessons I'm learning as I'm going through it. And so when I was, if you go to my earlier TikTok and I'm talking about nurturing your inner child, I had just discovered my inner child and how to talk to my inner child and how to encourage and support myself. 

And there's other TikToks about, you know, dealing with my daddy issues and my mommy issues and actually allowing myself to grieve the death of my grandmother. And how when you don't let you, let yourself grieve how it can manifest as trauma. I, I'm just sharing what I'm learning, but you're right, I'm gonna go back and revisit some of those earlier things I was talking about, maybe bring 'em back to the forefront and lately haven't heard, I really just lately, what I've been really embracing is everyone is a reflection of me.  

And so-  

[00:14:07] Jeff Galvin: Oh, that you're putting out like a energy that's being reflected back and you can have a huge effect on that.  

[00:14:13] Jamar Rogers: Absolutely. And so if someone is coming at me with a lot of with a lot of hate or, or some fear, then I'll be, they're pointing out some fear and some shame that I'm still carrying within myself. 

And so I've stopped pointing so many fingers, and I'm going more inward and saying, okay, there's this honing in device inside of me that is telling someone, please show me what's on the inside of me. Thank you for showing me how I'm still not showing up for myself. When someone decides to reject me or cast me aside, where have I not shown up for myself? 

In those instances, because what I do know for a fact that when I show up for myself and when I love myself unconditionally, it is always reflected back at me. It always comes back to me. That's why I don't have to chase relationships. I don't have to chase love. I simply have to stand still and receive because it's already a frequency that I'm sending out. 

So that's what I've been like playing around with, like literally playing around with energy, which I know sounds a little woowoo and stuff but I'm finding, I'm seeing results. I'm seeing, I'm finding that as I shed that evolution is not so much about becoming something else, but it's about unlearning and unbecoming. 

Don Miguel Ruiz talks about the domestication that happens amongst us. Like we lose our wild nature because we're domesticated by society. I think it's about losing a little bit of that domestication, because that's where your essence is. That's where your dharma is. That's where your path is. That's the heart, that's the journey of the heart. 

Jeff Galvin: But you see it comes across in your videos. Like I even heard you disappointed at the end of one of your videos. You and your dog are trying to like make a, whatever those things are of yourself, that picture or cartoon.  

Jamar Rogers: The AI painting.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, and it keeps coming out white. They keep painting you white. He keeps sounding disappointed and I'm like, this is so cool 'cause it's not that he thinks being black is better than being white. 

He just means it's okay to be whatever you want to be.  

Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Be proud of it. 

Jamar Rogers: And to love it. Yeah. Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Love it. Right. Exactly. And love that other person who's not the same color as you, not the same religion as you, not the same gender as you, not the same sexual orientation as you.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: Because they don't mean you any harm. 

Now, when people do mean you harm, that's a whole different thing. Right?  

Jamar Rogers: That is a-yep.  

Jeff Galvin: But you had a, you had a sociopath in your past. He said, 

Jamar Rogers: I did. 

Jeff Galvin: I'm gonna out you.  

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm. 

Jeff Galvin: Right. I'm gonna take power on you and I'm gonna hurt you. Right. Okay. That's bad. Now you can still have empathy for the guy. You can start thinking about like, why, why would he be that way? 

And I think that's a good way to look at it. Mm-hmm. But at the same time, there's nothing wrong with, you know, saying, strategizing about that and saying, how am I gonna protect myself? Because not everybody acts in a good way, even though we all have potential for good.  

Jamar Rogers: Well hurt people, hurt people. You know, if, if people are out hurting people, they are in tremendous amount of pain, and I realize that now that, that, that doesn't give 'em an excuse. 

I don't excuse their behavior, but it does give me a reason, a cause. And so that young man, I've forgiven him. I've forgave him a long time ago, but I've even gone beyond that. And I, and I am now grateful for him because he really did help me get over my biggest secret. He helped me get over the one thing that was holding me back from thoroughly enjoying my life. 

 Before I contracted HIV, I was homeless. I was on crystal meth. I was aimless. I had no-I wanted to die every single day. Getting that diagnosis saved my life. It got me off of meth. It made me decide, oh wait, I actually don't want to die. I really do wanna live. And once I got that will to live, there was like this fight. 

It kicked up a fight in me. So HIV has always been a gift to me. It's been a blessing. It was my fear of people's reaction to it that kept me in a lot of shame. And so now that we're actually discussing a cure now, now that we're actually like at this place in time, I'm just so excited that moving forward, future generations aren't gonna have to experience that kind of stigma or that kind of shame that it's gonna be kind of like, I remember back, you know, people were dying from syphilis back in the day, you know, it was, it was a horrible thing. And now it's just a little, you know, you get your shot, you do a little treatment. I can't wait until HIV becomes that. Until we actually see it that way as well. 

Jeff Galvin: You know, you and me, brother.  

I mean, I've been at this 15 years trying to, you know, 

Jamar Rogers: Thank you.  

Jeff Galvin: Cure something of substance and 

Jamar Rogers: Thank you.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, and HIV, some part of it was just serendipity that got HIV to be the one that's the first one in the clinic. 'Cause we didn't start off 15 years ago going, we're gonna be an HIV company. 

We said we're gonna be a gene and cell therapy company. This is really powerful. It's gonna cure big things. You know, my hope is okay. We knock off HIV, we use the money from that to, you know, find a cure for cancer. 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah, man.  

Jeff Galvin: I think that's all within the scope of this thing. But going back to, and 

Jamar Rogers: I did my research too, though, Jeff. I did my research too, and I, and I saw the countdown you guys are on. I mean, you're, you're so close. You're so close.  

Jeff Galvin: Let's, let's say we have line of sight on the cure. I don't wanna over-because I'll tell you, one of the things I find about the HIV community is needlessly they think that they, that they're in desperation, right?  

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: Now, I know some people that cannot get treatment. 

They are really in a desperate situation. I totally empathize with that, and I empathize with people that think that, you know, the number one thing in life is to be HIV free.  

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: But, you know, it's like when I, this is gonna sound really strange to you, but it's like when I graduated from Harvard, my parents have been telling me my whole life, like, if you graduated from graduate from a great school, your life is made. 

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: And I got outta Harvard and I was like, what next? Right. And I imagine that when everybody gets cured of HIV, they'll be happy. Okay. I'm happy that I have a Harvard diploma. Right. You know, there's nothing wrong with that. And it's opened some doors for me and it's relieved some, you know, sort of effort that I need to make to get the interview, right. 

You know, if I wanna, you know, do other things in my life. Yeah. It's useful. I think it's useful to be, you know, all sorts of things are useful in life, so, but I think that, you know, I'm hoping that they'll be like, I can't believe I was so depressed, or I was so anxious, or I was so self stigmatizing, or so full of fear about that whole thing. 

What was it? It was just a pill every day.  

Jamar Rogers: That's so true. That is so true. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I find that-  

Jeff Galvin: And look at you. You're a walking, talking example.  

Jamar Rogers: Oh, you're, I mean, you're absolutely right because it really boils down to just self-acceptance. I hated myself before the virus. I hated that I was gay. 

I hated, I grew up in a very religious household, so I learned shame at a very early age. I hated my existence. And over the years, I think that self-love, oh, that comes with just such loaded imagery. I think people are like, Ugh. It's, it's, that sounds more woo woo. To me, I think self-acceptance is the way to go. 

That self-acceptance leads to self-love. When you start to just accept, when you stop fighting, when you're, you're like, you know what? This is, this is the way I am. And I'm not saying that. I'm not saying that you don't. You don't work to strive to change certain character traits that you may not like. 

You know, if you have issues with punctuality and you wanna work on being on time, you don't just say, oh, that's just the way I am. But there is a certain freedom that comes with just simply accepting yourself flaws and all, and saying, who says. Who says, who says that this is a bad thing? Who? It's going, it's, to me, it was going back and challenging the beliefs that I had been raised with. These beliefs that came from my family, from my church, from my teachers and saying, do I have to believe this about myself any longer? I don't. 

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. 

Jamar Rogers: I don't have to believe I'm a failure. I don't have to believe I'm tainted. 

I don't have to believe I'm a waste of space or that I'm worthless. I can believe that I was born on purpose, with purpose. I'm not leaving this planet until my purpose is done. And when I started in ingraining myself with new beliefs, I started making new decisions. When you start making new decisions, you start having new circumstances, and those new circumstances lead to better decisions. 

My apartment, now I should not be here. It is beautiful for a former meth head, homeless guy. I am doing amazingly. I'm doing wonderfully, and that's why I wanna let people know that your status, or whatever mistake you think you've made in life, whether it was an unwed pregnancy or maybe it was a relationship you were in, it does not get to define who you are moving forward. 

Your past does not dictate your future. It was a mistake. So get up and we bounce back. We learn from our mistakes. You don't have to stay stuck there. You're not stuck.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you preaching to the choir too. I mean, like when, when I was listening to you, I was just seeing myself.  

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: Right. 

I'm, I was, I'm never, was never a drug addict. I grew up, you know, up sort of middle class and moving into upper middle class, you know, great education, great home, great parents, stable, stability, everything right. You know? But there were some things that. Some commonalities. This is the funny thing, is that I think my parents, given their background, were full of fear for me, right? 

And their way to overcome that fear was one, you know, you've gotta go to a great college. That's not that, that isn't that important, right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. You've gotta educate yourself. That is important. You gotta be thoughtful, you know, a good brain, a strong brain is a tool that is one of the most powerful things that you can have in terms of shaping your world. 

And think about all your philosophy comes from your brain. Right. It comes from your experience, it comes from your thoughtfulness, it comes from your ability to analyze the situation, and it brings you tremendous happiness, which is what the point of life. 

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: Right. You know, and everybody's like, well, what's success? 

Well, private plane's success. Really? You know, I know tons of people with private planes that are the most unhappy people on earth. Because why? Because they need a private plane and they're in fear of like, whoa, what if my private plane breaks down and I have to fly commercial? And they think they need that stuff and they don't. 

And you're looking around your apartment going, I should have never been here. So happy for what I have.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: And that's exactly how I-  

Jamar Rogers: That's success.  

Jeff Galvin: Feel every single day. Yeah. Yes. Once you realize that your needs are right here, right. Food, water, clothing. You know, self-acceptance, you know, relationship, connection, you know, 

Jamar Rogers: Community. Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: Community.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: Yes. And it's so easy to get. Okay. Everything above that is an opportunity for joy. And I bet you're, you know. Yeah. Because so long as you realize like, hey, I don't need that. It's nice though. Ooh, that feels good.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

I mean, so there's a whole, there's a whole Buddhist philosophy around that, that the root of suffering is the clinging. 

Yeah, it is. It's me. It's me clinging to an idea, clinging to my ego, clinging to, "I need to have that." And I find that when you let go, you receive what you want most. That's the, that's the, that's the funny. That's the paradox. Once I stopped chasing after certain things, it just came to me. And so, yeah. Yeah, I hear you, man. 

Jeff Galvin: Be yourself and find your place.  

Jamar Rogers: Define success.  

And that's how I define success. Actually liking the man I am when I go to bed at night, actually not hating what I see in the mirror anymore. To me, that is success.  

Jeff Galvin: I absolutely agree. For me, I tell everybody, you know what success? Peace of mind, happiness and you know, occasional joy. 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: You know, and then I'm like, you, you don't need anything else on top of that, and you can't be happier than that. And I'm like, hey. And, and I wish this for you too. Let's say that your music career takes off so much that you're like, you know something, be pocket change for me to have a private jet. I hope you get that private jet and that mansion and I hope you enjoy it. 

And I got no problem with that. And that won't make you unhappy. Why? Because philosophically and intellectually, you are you and strong inside, and that outside stuff is just. It's just you know, I won't say it's an illusion, but let's say that, you know, it's not important. It can come and go and it won't change you. 

And so, you know, 

Jamar Rogers: I think, well, I think the illusion is the, I think the illusion is the weight of how important we think it is. That's the illusion.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.  

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. 'Cause sometimes when you get that thing, you're still, what's next? Like you said earlier, what's next?  

Jeff Galvin: You need two private jets, 'cause what if one breaks down and then your wife needs to go someplace that you don't want to go. 

Now you need need three private jets. Cause what if one of those two breaks down and then- 

Jamar Rogers: It's always something.  

Jeff Galvin: It gets expensive and then all of a sudden, you know, like the Buddhists, I think the Buddhists are the ones who say this, that, , your possessions start owning you. Right?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes. Yeah. You know, it's true. It's true. 

Jeff Galvin: So, don't forget if you're, you know, if there's a billionaire watching this and you're on your private jet and you just happen to be catching this up on your super speed wifi, 'cause you can afford that in the air. All right? Remember, you don't really need that jet, but enjoy it. Okay. Enjoy it, man. 

Yeah, enjoy it, man. You know, and power to you just like everybody else.  

Jamar Rogers: I like, like that. 

Jeff Galvin: Love, the acceptance of yourself and everybody else. And, and if for some reason the jet's broken down and you don't have a spare, you know, you'd be surprised how great first class is on the airlines. And you meet a lot of interesting people like Jamar. 

As a matter of fact, everyone's quiet and sit next to somebody.  

Jamar Rogers: Oh, I love a good plane conversation.  

Jeff Galvin: Had a really interesting life experience, and this is what it's all about. I mean, I just-  

Jamar Rogers: Those are the best. You mentioned some music, Jeff. I actually took, I took like a almost a two year break from music because I was unfulfilled. 

I, and this is when I started making TikTok content actually. And it was during that process, I became a certified meditation teacher, started conducting breath work sessions. I started working on somatic healing and moving trauma from the body. And so I am now releasing a song. I and it is a functional song and that I tell you to breathe in and breathe out. 

And if you breathe in as I sing and breathe out and do it the entire two and a half minutes that the song is on, it should calm your nervous system, your parasympathetic nervous system. It should start to slow your heart rate down, lower your blood pressure, lower your cortisol levels. And so I wanted to use music in a sound healing way and in a new way that wasn't about me just trying to be famous anymore. In a way that people could put something on if they're having a bad day, if they're feeling anxious and actually breathe along with the song. So I just finished that up in the studio. I'll be releasing that within the next three to four weeks. 

And I'm really excited to share that with everyone. It's a very new project for me. I'm excited.  

Jeff Galvin: Can you do a bar for us? I mean, just like a- 

Jamar Rogers: Oh yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: A couple, a one sentence or two, because-  

Jamar Rogers: Sure.  

Jeff Galvin: What you're talking, what you're talking about here is this is medicine, this is holistic medicine that you're talking about. 

Okay. Yeah. It isn't a drug that goes in your body, but that we have incredible power over our own bodies.  

Jamar Rogers: We do.  

Jeff Galvin: With the kind of things that you're talking about here. So, you know, we'll have to get the link, you know, once-  

Jamar Rogers: Okay. Yes, for sure. I got for sure.  

Jeff Galvin: But I see you actually leaning forward on the idea of giving us a bar. I would be so proud to, you know, to, 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah, man. I got you.  

Jeff Galvin: You have this on the show. 

Jamar Rogers: I wanna make sure I don't get too loud. 

Breath in, breathe out. Keep on, keep on. God bless your lungs. 

Breathe in, breathe out. Oh. 

And so it's just kind of like a mantra that you just, it's just a repeat. Breathe in, breathe out, keep on, keep on. Bless your lungs. Breathe in, breathe out.  

Jeff Galvin: You know what you're doing? You are bridging the gap between people that are, have not found that holistic side yet. Right, because I tried meditation and I really came to understand how meditation affects your body, right?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: But it's not necessarily like sort of accessible to everybody. Like, I saw you a picture of you and your, I don't know, what would you call that? Your meditation coach or your, your guru or whatever. I'm like, why do they always look like that? You know? That's cool with me. That's cool.  

Jamar Rogers: It's just like, he's an old hippie man. He's just an old, yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. It's just not familiar, right? Like, you know, I don't see a lot of people just like, oh yeah, you know, I identify with that immediately. But once again, that just shows you, you're just missing out 'cause you can't look past this guy's surface. 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. 

Jeff Galvin: So, you know. So don't take me the wrong way. The guy's beautiful man. I bet he's just great. So, yeah. But you know, you are going, hey, you know, maybe you're not ready for that, but breathe in, breathe out. Feel me. 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Feel me through the music. Yeah. You feel something good happening. Okay. Next TikTok video, I'm gonna turn you onto this, right? 

Jamar Rogers: Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: So that is super and I'm glad you're pursuing something 'cause I think, again, this is something that we have in common. You know, service to humanity is the most fulfilling thing on life. 

Jamar Rogers: Yes. Yes. 

Jeff Galvin: In life, right? And once you have enough, When you go ahead and turn yourself to that, the feeling of, you know, joy, fulfillment that you get is not available anywhere else that I've ever found. 

Right. When you realize like, oh, my life has purpose. It's about having love for humankind. And by the way, that includes me. Right? 

Jamar Rogers: Yes. Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: You know, we are all human, right?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes, yes.  

Jeff Galvin: You can even derive good in the universe about, you know, how do we sustain humankind? How do we increase success of humankind in the definition of happiness? 


Jamar Rogers: Thank you. Being more community minded. Yes. Thinking about us. As opposed to just me, me, me, me, me all the time. It is so much more fulfilling. It really, I know that sounds so cliched. I know that once of the times I would, I would've been rolling my eyes at that statement like, oh sure.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah, of course. 

Jamar Rogers: But there is, when I was working with God's Love We Deliver in New York, it was hot. It was hard work running up 18 flights of stairs in Harlem to serve food to people who were chronically ill. They had aids, they couldn't leave their home. But after that day was done, I would feel so, like I did something that, that was worth it. 

I did something good. No one can take that away from you.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. In some way we all realize that we're only here for a limited period of time.  

Jamar Rogers: That's it. Right? That's it. 

Jeff Galvin: And will that have meaning or not right? You know that. And, and what is, let's say, you know, let's say we accept that there's an afterlife. 

Okay? So if you accept an idea of God. Or if you even believe that maybe there's a physical energy, you know, sort of an energy that lasts beyond us or whatever, sure. What would have meaning there? Right. It certainly ain't gonna be material things. You know, everybody understands you can't take it with you. 

Right. It's gonna be something, you know, that we can be proud of.  

Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

Jeff Galvin: In retrospect, Right. And you know, religions try to build this in too. You know, you see St. Peter right away and some religion, you know, some religions Right. Reviews your life with you and you either feel good or bad. I used to think, yeah, you know, my philosophy was like, yeah, if there's a God, you're his child and you're gonna be welcome there. 

 But you might feel a lot of shame over the crappy stuff you did in life,  

Jamar Rogers: Perhaps, perhaps.  

Jeff Galvin: Initially when you get there,  

Jamar Rogers: Perhaps. 

Jeff Galvin: But it doesn't matter. He still loves you. The universe still loves you. You still, you still deserve love. You said that in one of your TikTok videos too. You were like, Hey, bestie, stop being down on yourself. 

Right. You know, so again, watch it. Watch the videos so you don't think I'm crazy 'cause it's all in there, you know? And you'll start to think, oh, maybe Jeff wasn't losing his mind on the interview either. Yeah. Starting to make sense to me. But, but I do get also, you're gonna be ready to receive that message. Right. You can't at the, you know, certainly at the, when you hit rock bottom, you're ready for anything, right? You did that, right?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes. I've had several rock bottoms.  

Jeff Galvin: And then you've got an HIV diagnosis. It's like, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy,  

Jamar Rogers: A few heartbreaks, you know? Yeah. Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh my gosh, right? 

Okay. So you're like, you know, there's only one way, but, you know, and it's up and I gotta figure out how to, you know, climb out of this hole instead of continuing to dig. Right.  

Jamar Rogers: And one thing I have learned is that it ultimately always works out ultimately. One way or the other.  

Jeff Galvin: Survival isn't hard. And if you're surviving, you can have happiness. 

Jamar Rogers: That's it, right? That's it.  

Jeff Galvin: And you've survived at the lowest level ever.  

Jamar Rogers: That's it, right? That's it.  

Jeff Galvin: You know, people wouldn't, wouldn't let you live with them. Because you know, you were a meth addict and you were stealing, you said in one of your interviews. And I'm like, yeah, I get it, man. You were a homeless, meth addict. 

It's like, yeah. You know, it doesn't get much worse than that.  

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: And, and again, that's why you can take joy from, you know, from your reemergence, from what is something that is unusually low on the bell curve. Right? The bell curve is well within joy range, the happy potential happiness range. 

Jamar Rogers: Yes, sir.  

Jeff Galvin: And, you know, and take it from Jamar 'cause he's been out of the bell curve before and he has, he's feeling good just being in inside the, you know, sort of the big part of the bell curve right now.  

Jamar Rogers: Yeah, yeah. That's what's up. 

Jeff Galvin: You know, and don't, there's nothing wrong with being on the high end of the bell curve. Just recognize that the fact that you're not in the low end of the bell curve gives you amazing license to just have tremendous joy for when you're not suffering.  

Jamar Rogers: And to go and to go spread some of that, you know, some of that love spread some of that Yeah. And that peace. Yeah. Yeah. To those that are struggling.  

Jeff Galvin: Not everybody's gonna be able to spread it. Nobody's gonna, not everybody's gonna think about it as deeply as you did. This is why I'm glad you are putting it out. You know, I hope one day you will be in Maryland and you'll drop in here and maybe-  

Jamar Rogers: Oh I am.  

Jeff Galvin: Talk to all of us 'cause I think this- 

Jamar Rogers: Say less.  

Jeff Galvin: A big part of our culture is a lot of what you're putting out. 

Jamar Rogers: Thanks man. Wow.  

Jeff Galvin: I'm gonna go way back in your, in this interview just for one second 'cause I, okay. I thought this was another thing that kind of is a universal thing that, you know, struck me as you were talking. So you had this person who threatened to out you about your HIV status. Right. And it was horrible. And it drove you to do something which maybe you wouldn't have done otherwise. And then in retrospect, you realize that the universe gave you a gift. How crazy is that? Right.  

Jamar Rogers: It's insane's  

Jeff Galvin: It's insane. Right. But it's perspective. And self love,  

Jamar Rogers: Perspective. Perspective  

Jeff Galvin: And that you were forced to stop stigmatizing yourself. And then, you know how lucky it was that you're walking down the street, you know, and you bump into some guy and he's like, yo, I know you. And then he starts crying. So, And he tells you, you know, you gave you, you gave me perspective, right? You gave me hope.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes. Yes.  

Jeff Galvin: You know that?  

Jamar Rogers: Yes. 

Jeff Galvin: That is so cool. And I talked to people, I was even on a plane with a politician the other day, and she was writing a personal note back to one of her constituents. 

And she, you know, I thought, well that's a very good idea, right? You can't write back to everybody. Like I have, I get a ton of inbounds from people that are HIV positive.  

Jamar Rogers: Sure.  

Jeff Galvin: You know, and even people that have cancer, 'cause we, that's one of the things that we're, you know, trying to work on, but that's further out. You know, and, and I don't have time to write back to everybody, but I try to whenever I can because I feel like, you know, these people would benefit from just a little bit of empathy and understanding and hope. And my biggest fear, my biggest fear is I don't wanna give them more hope than they really should have right now. 

Jamar Rogers: Sure. Sure.  

Jeff Galvin: 'Cause I don't wanna disappoint them. So I try to, you know, you know, never overpromise, but to say like, yeah, we're trying our best man. We're with you. We don't have HIV I don't think we have anybody with HIV in the company. 

Jamar Rogers: Wow.  

Jeff Galvin: We don't care about that. We care about you. 

Jamar Rogers: Wow, man, that's amazing. 

Jeff Galvin: We wanna do something special here. So, you know, so I'm watching this politician writing. I'm like, Hey, we have something in common with her too. Right? You know what she, she said, yeah. Every once in a while I'll show up at a, you know, political event and somebody will come up to me and say, oh, thank you so much for that letter. 

And, you know, and I was like, yeah. You know,  

Jamar Rogers: I'm sure yeah. 

Jeff Galvin: You must get, you must get a lot of joy out of out of that kind of experience now. 

Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

Jeff Galvin: To me, like she looked at me like I was a, she didn't quite understand what I was saying, you know, because of course, you know, probably she's more used to the other reaction, which is, wow, you are so amazing for writing those letters. 

Jamar Rogers: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.  

Jeff Galvin: But, oh, I get it. She is amazing for writing those letters. But the amazing part is the joy.  

Jamar Rogers: It's the joy  

Jeff Galvin: That just came full circle, right? That's the thing that everybody should be focused on. So she wrote the letters and every once in a while she touched a life and, and that person, their mind opened up to the idea that we're in this together, even with the politicians can be on our side, which is not an easy thing to. 

Sure. Especially, especially since she was a Washington politician, right. You make up local government officials where you're like, oh, I love my town. Right. You know, I'm even like, I love Maryland. Maryland's got a great government. Right. You know, I'm like, I can't believe you.  

Jamar Rogers: We do have a cool governor, yeah. 

Jeff Galvin: South of us, can't pick up some of this philosophy. You know? It's like government service. It really, it's, it's fulfilling and you can get reelected because you do stuff for your constituents. You don't have to, you know, have all the special interests, dumping tons of money.

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. Or playing the culture wars. I find there's a game I play, Jeff. There's a game I play Jeff that I think keeps it light and fun and it's how many people's day can I make? 

I find that when I walk around with that mentality, who, whose day can I make? Whose day can I make whether I'm grocery shopping? Stopping at Starbucks? Am I complimenting the barista? Am I making small talk in a way that makes the, the waiter or the server feel seen or heard? Am I tipping a little extra? Am I buying the person behind me coffee? I find that when I'm putting that energy out, I don't have time to complain. I don't have time to be irritated because I'm playing this game. How much, how much fun can I have making people's day? And so that is, that is a, I'm telling you bro, when you start seeing people around you as just potential friends instead of big, bad, scary people and enemies, I have talked to people that on paper shouldn't, who shouldn't want to talk to me, and I've had such rich, deep, momentous conversations. So it's definitely possible to be able to find enough joy daily even with all of the shenanigans that are happening. It is possible to find little pockets of joy every day.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. And, and this is another thing. 

I find that when, when I espouse that same philosophy, right, people just go, you know, you're just wrong 'cause I have all these pains in my life. And I'm like, you think I don't have pains in my life constantly. I'm just saying that in the moments that I escaped the pain, I'm feeling joy. 

[00:41:39] Jamar Rogers: That's it.  

[00:41:39] Jeff Galvin: Because I understand that life is full of bs.  

[00:41:42] Jamar Rogers: It is. 

[00:41:43] Jeff Galvin: And I gotta handle it. And this is especially true at, at my company, right? Because, you know, this is a competitive hard driving, you know, difficult mission. 

[00:41:55] Jamar Rogers: I can imagine.  

[00:41:56] Jeff Galvin: And I'm all in and I'm leaving it on the field every day. And, you know, but people come in and out of the mission who feel it to varying degrees. 

I look at you and I'm like, you should work at AGT, right? You'd be like, how can I, you know, bring joy to 38 million people. I can like, put myself full time. I'm into curing HIV. This is how I feel every day. I feel lucky to be able to work on this because the same way that you're talking about, you know, am I making small talk with the barista? You know, buying the coffee behind you, smiling at somebody, making a new friend, making somebody feel good, you know, again, your TikTok videos do that. I think you bring, you are spreading a lot of joy and I think you should be proud of, really proud of that.  

[00:42:35] Jamar Rogers: Thank you.  

[00:42:35] Jeff Galvin: Yeah. And but that's, You know, even though it, it's been 15 years so far and it'll probably take a few more, and I'm not a young, you know, a spring chicken like you, right? 

You know, so, but I'm like, what else would I wanna do with my life? I got enough. Enough, right? Everybody's like, well, you know, you're rich. No, I'm not rich. You know, I'm, I got enough. I'm not in financial pain. Right.  

[00:43:05] Jamar Rogers: You're satissfied. Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Right. But I bet everything I had on this company, because I was like, if this can be done, it should be done. 

And if it should be done, it must be done. And if I can do it, I gotta be there.  

Jamar Rogers: Yes sir.  

Jeff Galvin: You gotta show up, right? 

Jamar Rogers: Man.Yes, sir.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. And so, you know, there's in between all the difficult things in my job is tremendous joy because I get to be doing this. 

Jamar Rogers: Yes, I love that. 

Jeff Galvin: Just like you get to smile at the, at the waiter and tip a little extra and, and you feel good. 

Jamar Rogers: Yeah.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. You're not even talking. You made them feel good, but it's like you got it right back. 

Jamar Rogers: I, I always do.  

Jeff Galvin: You feel good? Yeah, you do. You do. And you were-  

Jamar Rogers: You feel good. But then I find that I opened myself up to receive blessings from other people. Just random little, I like to call 'em kisses from the universe, just like, oh, that was nice. Thanks. Hey. Oh, look at that parking space there right up front. Oh, thanks. Thanks, universe. You know, just grateful for the little things.  

Jeff Galvin: This goes back to something you said earlier. What you're putting out is what's getting reflected back.  

Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

Jeff Galvin: And you have a tremendous amount of control over your environment. You know, you put good things out into it. Look, it's cliche to say what goes around comes around.  

Jamar Rogers: But it's so true, man. It's so true.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. But not a hundred percent. So don't get up upset if it doesn't work the first time. Right.  

Jamar Rogers: But I also find- I also find, I also find that you have to, I had to release my idea of what I thought was good sometimes like HIV. On the surface is bad. It's a terrible thing, but it turned out to be very good in my life. So I find that-  

Jeff Galvin: Good aspects and bad aspects.  

Jamar Rogers: Absolutely.  

Jeff Galvin: We're not, by the way, anybody listening, we're not recommending that you go out and get HIV.  

Jamar Rogers: No. Okay. 

Jeff Galvin: Jamar's not saying that either. No. But if you have it, you know, just recognize immediately. It does not define you. It does not define you. It does not limit you.

Jamar Rogers: Yeah. And is there a way to find the silver lining? Is there a way to find the blessing in the middle of the turmoil? Normally I find that there is usually one, one pocket of sunshine if you're looking, if you're willing to look for it. 

Jeff Galvin: Cliche, every cloud has a silver lining. Right. You know? It's the funny thing, I love cliche and common wisdom. Right. You know, it's like, or, or even in some ways, right? Some of the negative things like stereotyping right is a bad thing. But you know, there is a-something to learn within these observations, right? 

Jamar Rogers: Sure, sure.  

[00:45:34] Jeff Galvin: So common wisdom is usually more common than it is wise, but there's an element of truth in it.  

[00:45:40] Jamar Rogers: There's an element of wisdom to it. Absolutely.  

[00:45:42] Jeff Galvin: Element of wisdom to it. Like there's something that you can learn from it. Even the negative aspect of stereotyping. Yes, you can learn something positive from it.  

[00:45:49] Jamar Rogers: It's so good. 

[00:45:50] Jeff Galvin: Right way. So true. And HIV you could actually think, wow, I found the silver lining in here, that this actually, this experience actually improved my life. It set me on a course that made Jamar, you know, what he is today. And  

[00:46:03] Jamar Rogers: Yes, sir. 

[00:46:04] Jeff Galvin: I'm telling you, I'm gonna wrap it right there cuz that Jamar is awesome. I really enjoyed this discussion and you know, I'm sorry for, you know, being such a fanboy on this. 

[00:46:15] Jamar Rogers: No.  

[00:46:15] Jeff Galvin: On this conversation here. And this is,  

[00:46:18] Jamar Rogers: Oh no, you really encouraged me. Thank you. Thank you.  

[00:46:21] Jeff Galvin: I've seen some of this in every interview that I've done, but I'm like, you know, you just somehow hit it like right down the middle of the fairway with me on your TikTok videos. So I was very excited to meet you. I thought we're gonna have a great conversation that I'm gonna love, and I really did. And kudos to you, Jamar. Just keep on doing it.  

[00:46:40] Jamar Rogers: Thank you, brother.  

[00:46:41] Jeff Galvin: Yeah, thank you.  

[00:46:42] Jamar Rogers: Oh, we will meet. We will meet in person. I'm, I'm a hugger. I'm gonna give you a nice, tight hug in person.  

Jeff Galvin: Oh, yeah. I'm gonna come, will you come out here or I'm gonna come out there. I have business on the West Coast every once in a while.  

Jamar Rogers: Perfect. 

Jeff Galvin: You know? Yeah. I would love to meet you in person.  

Jamar Rogers: Same, same.  

Jeff Galvin: Yeah. That would be wonderful.  

Jamar Rogers: Just great energy man. I really thank you for having me on, but I also just wanna take the moment to thank you for your service, for the work that you're doing. I can fanboy over you for a moment. I mean, because you, you could be probably doing a lot of other things with your education and probably making a lot more money as well. And yet you've decided to give back. So from one person that is currently living with the virus, thank you for dedicating your life to this, your hours for hiring people that are just as dedicated, and for shifting your own focus and perspective and when you really didn't have to. 

So, I really appreciate you. Thank you.  

Jeff Galvin: Thank you so much for saying that, and you know, I hope you understand when I say that, you know, what else would I wanna do with my life that would be more important than, you know, helping humanity and helping people to eliminate some of the impediments that are getting in the way of them, you know, having joy and living together and loving one another and things like that. 

So, I am a lucky, lucky man to be where I am, and I am honored that I could be part of a journey that might result in an HIV cure. Might do it. Yeah. Could even lead to a cancer cure one day. This is what makes me jump out of bed in the morning and the joy is mine, man. The joy is mine.  

Jamar Rogers: I love that. Hey, well thank you. 

Jeff Galvin: All right. Take care. Thank you for coming on The Cure Chronicles, and I can't wait to see you again sometime soon. 

 Jamar Rogers: Yes, sir. All right. Stay in touch. Have a good one. 

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