New York City Concert Raises Awareness About HIV/AIDS Among Urban Blacks, Hispanics
Performing artists from the worlds of rap, hip-hop and R&B came together last night at New York's Beacon Theatre to promote HIV/AIDS awareness among urban blacks and Hispanics as part of LIFEbeat's "UrbanAID2" concert, the Associated Press reports. Co-chaired by rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, the event featured performances by rappers Combs, Jay-Z, Fat Joe and Ja Rule and R&B artists Musiq, Ashanti, Alicia Keys and hip-hop band The Roots (Moody, Associated Press, 4/8). Simmons called the hip-hop community "one of the most powerful voices in America today" and urged the community to "mobilize" against the disease. "We need to take that voice into our neighborhoods and reach our families, our friends. We need to take that strong voice to Washington and impact on legislation and fundraising," Simmons said (LIFEbeat release, 4/9). That message is particularly needed from the hip-hip community because much of its product seems to promote sex, the Associated Press reports, noting that UrbanAID2 participant Jay-Z brags about having "raw," or unprotected, sex in his songs. Ahmir Thompson of The Roots said critics should focus on artists' actions, not their lyrics or videos, although Thompson acknowledged that the members of the urban music community "haven't done (anything). It's not even scratching the surface, and that's not even coming from a moralistic standpoint." But the hip-hop community has not been devoid of voices on HIV/AIDS, the Associated Press reports. Many artists, such as Lil' Kim, Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child and Monica, have participated in public service announcement campaigns and other benefit projects, the Associated Press notes (Associated Press, 4/8). Artists participating in the concert also visited schools, clinics, hospitals and community centers in the month preceding the show to raise HIV/AIDS awareness. Videotaped segments from those visits were aired during the concert (LIFEbeat release, 3/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.