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Young Musicians Sing HIV/AIDS Prevention Message


A group of musicians has produced a CD intended to spread a message of HIV-AIDS prevention to young people. The CD is part of the AIDS Responsibility Project. Melinda Smith narrates.

The new CD is called "What Are We Living For." It was put together by volunteer singers and producers and launched at this month's International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada. The songs emphasize hope, honesty and responsible behavior.

Abner Mason is the executive director of the AIDS Responsibility Project, which produced the CD. "We produced the 12 track album with songs in the hip hop and R&B [rhythm and blues], and is targeted at young people who are most at risk for infection with HIV, but who are simultaneously harder to reach with traditional types of messages. Our view is that the challenge we face with HIV is so big that is going to require all segments of society to step up and take responsibility."

Several of the artists on the CD have already had close encounters with HIV-AIDS.

Rap singer Chad Phipps was born in New Orleans and is better known as "Ghost." He likes positive music with a message.

"I have friends who passed from HIV-AIDS related diseases,” says Phipps. “And I also had a cousin, but I am not too sure how she contracted it, because at the time it was like a new disease and nobody talked about it and everything got, like, swept under the rug."

Katie Marino is a pop and soul singer and a dance teacher. "I work with high school students and is important for me to impact them."

Besides the music CD, the Responsibility Project and A.R.P. Productions are also using video and the Internet. Their web site at “arpproductions.com” promotes HIV-AIDS awareness. Their video uses stories from Africa and testimonials of volunteers.

"It's cool to be smart. It's cool to be careful. It's cool to be aware of the possibility of contracting something. It's not cool to die young," says the soundtrack of the music video.

Abner Mason with the AIDS Responsibility Project hopes this CD is just the beginning. "We hope very much to attract other artists. We hope other artists see what we're doing and see that they too can use their gift to fight HIV."

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