hip hop music

March 24, 2005

AIDS and Hip-Hop, Ten Years After Eazy

I have a little Eazy E/AIDS piece up at SOHH.com. Somewhat rewritten after I handed it in, but not in a bad way.

...James Earl Hardy believes health organizations also need to step up and "target us with prevention messages that speak directly to us, instead of slapping colored faces on campaigns that worked for white gay men." Hardy explains there are many factors that keep African Americans in the dark like "our distrust of the healthcare system, [it makes] it harder to get folks tested and if they are HIV positive, get them the treatment they need. [And] our having to deal with so many other issues such as poverty, underemployment, a public miseducation system, racial profiling, police brutality; and the Black church's refusal to deal with the crisis, too often because of homophobia."

Hardy also speaks frankly on the taboo topic "down low brothers" -men who spread HIV/AIDS by secretly sleeping with other men while in a heterosexual relationship. Hardy says, "The 'down low' is not a culture; it's a media-hyped phenomenon created by some very lazy, irresponsible journalists, who are also racist and/or homophobic." He says this behavior does exist but it's been blown way out of proportion, and has become a boogeyman that distracts us from the real issues. "Someone's got to be the villain, so it is much easier to place the blame on a group that is invisible and unable to defend itself. As with Eazy-E's death, another opportunity is being missed to arm folks with the knowledge and tools they need to protect themselves. Giving sistas a list of items they can check off to see if their man is on the down-low is not the answer..."

Posted by jsmooth995 at March 24, 2005 4:29 PM

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