MTV Documentary Starring Hip Hop Artist Travis McCoy Explores His Life-changing Journey in Support of HIV/AIDS Campaign Staying Alive

Oct 26, 2009
By ViacomCBS Staff


Staying Alive, MTV Networks International's global HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness campaign, has produced a new TV documentary, Travis McCoy's Unbeaten Track [], which shows first hand how young people are fighting back against the spread of HIV within their communities in South Africa, the Philippines and India.

The special will air on MTV's global networks of 64 channels, reaching 632 million households on World AIDS Day December 1, 2009 (check local listings for times). It will also be made available rights and cost free to broadcasters around the world.

McCoy has also created a single titled One At A Time, which is based on his experiences and will be available as a digital download from iTunes on December 1, with all proceeds going to The Staying Alive Foundation.

The MTV documentary features Travis McCoy, lead vocalist and songwriter for alternative hip hop band Gym Class Heroes, who, in his role as Ambassador for the Staying Alive Foundation, traveled with an MTV film crew to South Africa, the Philippines and India to raise awareness about youth-driven HIV and AIDS prevention initiatives, supported by The Staying Alive Foundation. Directed by MTV's James Barnes, the hour-long programme captures McCoy's experiences in Cape Town, Manila, and Mumbai, and his interaction with some of the grassroots youth-led HIV prevention projects supported by The Staying Alive Foundation.

During the course of the documentary, McCoy talks with this year's Staying Alive Foundation grantees to learn more about how their personal experiences with HIV/AIDS has led them to become actively involved to help fight the epidemic in their communities.

McCoy speaks about experiencing, first hand, the living and working conditions of the people and communities he visits, and then discusses the impact that this ambitious and emotional journey has had on his own attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, and his music.

Travis McCoy said: "It's been an incredible experience. To see so many people across the world united in their determination to make a change and make a difference has opened my eyes. When you hear their unbelievable stories and see what they are doing in their own communities it really makes you think - why can't we make a difference?"

"Travis' commitment to the Staying Alive Foundation has enabled us to produce a truly unique piece of programming," said Georgia Arnold, Executive Producer of The Unbeaten Track and Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, MTV Networks International/ Executive Director, Staying Alive Foundation.

"Visiting Staying Alive Foundation grantees on the ground allowed Travis to highlight their great work as well as gain a deeper understanding of the issues they're facing.

Importantly, he was also able to take the inspirational personal stories of the young leaders he met and use them as the building blocks for a brand new track. Through music, Travis will be sharing his experience and amplifying the HIV awareness message to MTV audiences, globally, in a creative and memorable way."

Highlights of Travis' trip include:

South Africa -- Travis visits Khayelitsha, Cape Town, the second largest township in South Africa where he meets Bulelani Mvotho and his project Snapshot Mobile Cinema. The experience opens his eyes to the physical and social effects of HIV/AIDS, the need for education, and the misconceptions and prejudice that exist around the disease.

India -- Travis meets Mandakini Behara who runs the Utkal Network of People Living with HIV (UNP+)project in Cuttack, Orissa State, who turned her own experiences of being ostracized by her family and local community after her husband died of AIDS into a force for change.

Travis learns how Mandakini turned her personal tragedy into triumph by educating her own community about how to prevent and control the spread of HIV and work towards a time when the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease will no longer exist.

Manila -- Travis meets Alex Sarza, who runs the BALUTI (Protect the Child from Infection) project in Barangay, Manila to see, first hand, the work they have been doing to help combat HIV infection, by working directly with gang members, drug-users, out-of-school youth and youth in prostitution.

Whilst in Manila he also witnesses the close proximity of life and death for 60 families who live and whose children play among the tombstones of the dead and where he demonstrates to teenage school children how to have safe sex and protect themselves against possible infection by wearing a condom.

The above highlights -- and exclusive footage -- can be viewed online at Travis' updates can also be followed on Twitter at

The documentary was shot tapeless in HD on Sony EX-1s, with stills and promo shots captured on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Notes to editors:


Founded in 2004, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a global public charity operating in affiliation with MTV Networks International. Its mission is to empower and support young people who are protecting themselves and their communities against HIV and AIDS. The Foundation donates money and provides grants to youth-led initiatives committed to educating their peers about HIV and AIDS. It is dedicated to fighting stigma and discrimination and empowering young people to protect themselves against the disease. For more information log onto

About MTV Networks International:

MTV Networks International, a division of Viacom, Inc., includes the premier multimedia entertainment brands MTV: Music Television, VH1, Nickelodeon, TMF (The Music Factory), VIVA, Flux, Paramount Comedy, Comedy Central, Game One, Neopets, GameTrailers, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire. MTV Networks' brands are seen globally in 632 million households, in 162 countries and 33 languages via 68 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 200 digital media properties. The company's diverse holdings also include interests in television syndication, digital media, publishing, home video, radio, recorded music, licensing & merchandising and two feature film divisions, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).