Friday, June 18, 2010

Hip Hop for HIV Awareness Effort: A Contradiction!?

First of all,

I want it to be made clear that I am all for HIV and AIDS awareness programs and initiatives. As a matter of fact, I truly appreciate the efforts being made on a consistent basis by the many organizations across the country and even the world that participate in this very important endeavor. However, when a rap or hip hop station joins in on the effort, I sometimes scratch my head thinking, “They can’t be serious.” Here in the great city of Dallas one of its more popular rap stations, 97.9 FM the Beat, has been advertising heavily over it’s airwaves, it’s very own HIV awareness and prevention community service initiative. Hip Hop for HIV is obviously geared towards the youth and young adults who frequently listen to the programming at the station. I think directing HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness at our youth is very important today. As a matter of fact it has become an absolute necessity. According to recent statistics at UNICEF, in 2007 5.4 million young people between the ages of 15-24 were infected with HIV.

97.9FM the Beat has been urging its listeners to get tested at various hosting sites across the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex since May 29th with the final testing day to be on June 20th. Each person who gets tested gets a ticket to a free summer concert which happens to feature some of today’s popular rappers and RnB singers. This initiative is being co-sponsored by the likes of comedian and nationally syndicated radio personality Rickey Smiley, Mayor Pro-Tem Dwaine R. Caraway, The City of Dallas, Dallas County Community College District and the MLK, Jr. Family Clinic.

Ok. Here is my issue with this rap station and any rap station pushing an HIV/AIDS awareness initiative. The music that is mainly played at rap stations is totally the antithesis of love, safe sex, mature intimacy, self-respect, health and committed relationships and dignity. Rap stations play the theme music for wild and irresponsible sexual behavior. So, please excuse me for looking at what 97.9 the beat is trying to do as being hypocritical and a flat out contradiction. This situation is so “upside down” in theory that the very artists that they have invited to perform at the free summer concert on the 20th totally gives credence to my accusations of the efforts being a flat out contradiction.

Also, I have an issue with the Mayor Pro-Tem being associated with such outlandishness. If this is the person who has politically positioned himself to be the mayor of one this country’s most touted and celebrated cities, I think his supporters may need to take a second look at the person whom they have invested their trust. If he is not discerning enough to know that this was a not a good move politically or even intellectually, I guess we look forward to him co-sponsoring a community service project by pedophiles who want to feed and house homeless children. Mr. Caraway, I totally understand why you have connected yourself to this project. You want the youth vote. However, young people are associated with many other entities around the metroplex that don’t set out with the to purpose to mentally poison them such as the Urban League, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and other non-profit organizations that are in the business of empowering our young people.

The MLK Jr. Family Clinic is just trying to get numbers. Meaning this population of young people is very slow to get tested for HIV and AIDS and partnering with a radio station that has those numbers works well for them. Now, I am not sure what the clinic’s monetary compensation is for getting these particular numbers is but I do believe it is all about getting numbers.

I want all of the legitimate organizations who participate in the HIV/AIDS awareness effort to continue with raising awareness in society. As far as a rap station doing this, it is like a married preacher or minister who often spews sermons about being faithful to God and your spouse, when he leaves the church parking lot every Sunday with a prostitute who is an atheist.