Ten years after rapper Eazy-E died from AIDS, hip-hoppers are lyrically battling their fans—to get tested. “Hip-hop is our generation’s tool for education and liberation,” says Monifa Bandele, executive director of the Malcolm X movement, which organized Black August, an annual hip-hop benefit in New York. The concert, headlined by rhymer Mos Def, netted a much-needed $14,000 for HIV awareness in the U.S. and Africa. Half of all new HIV cases in the U.S. occur among African Americans.
Also in August, VH1 aired Tracking the Monster, documenting singer India.Arie’s African AIDS-clinic tour. Black Entertainment Television, meanwhile, continues to educate young adult African Americans with its Rap-It-Up programming . Even rapper/actress Eve got tested on her UPN show. Marteniz Brown, a patient advocate who played Eve’s testing counselor, says clients ask, “I’ve been thinking of getting tested since I saw Eve—where can I [go]?” Hip-hop hooray.