Magic Johnson Ask Rappers To Tackle Homophobia in the Hip-Hop Community

After being diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago, Magic Johnson retired from his successful career in the NBA. But all these years later, he is alive, healthy and rich, and now he wants to use his status to become an HIV/AIDS activist for the black community.

In an interview with Huffington Post, Johnson discussed what he’s done to leave a legacy of service to Black America from his Magic Johnson Foundation, but now he wants to turn his efforts towards HIV/AIDS prevention, and he cites homophobia as a big issue when it comes to the black community and AIDS. There’s only one issue, he needs hip-hop artists to help him spread the word in order to educate the black community on two issues it’s so afraid to discuss.

“I learned a lot from the white gay community because they had gotten their community, rallied them, educated them and did a wonderful job about driving the numbers down. That is the best approach that I’ve seen; it’s been the most effective. So what we try to do in our community is bring those results to us. So I’m working hard to continue to educate minorities about HIV and AIDS and we’ve got to band together. We’re too fragmented right now, but if we can do that, we’re going to do well.

As a hip-hop fan, you realize that homophobia is still an issue everywhere, but especially in the black community. When people are scared to talk about it, that’s how the disease spreads. So what have you been doing to get that risk reduced?

What we’re trying to do is reach out to the hip-hop community because they have power — power with their voice, power with that mic in their hand and power with the lyrics that they sing. I have a lot of friends in that industry and so what we’re trying to do is rally them to get behind the cause, deliver the message to these young people that HIV and AIDS is big and it’s not going anywhere. They can make a difference right away by speaking out, because they have a big fan base.

So we’re finding out that a lot of them want to be involved; they’re just looking for a group like ours to latch onto and be a part of it. We haven’t really had any push-back from the hip-hop community.

Is there anybody you can name?

We’re going to name everybody in a little while because it’s more than one person. We’ve got about five or six people that we’re talking to. We’re going to come out next year with everybody and we’ll have a nice big press conference and what we’re going to do, what our plan is, because it’s so important that we rally — not just them, either. I need the hip-hop community but I also need the basketball players and football players. We need a little bit of everybody, so that’s what we’re working on now.”

Whatever campaign Magic has up his sleeve sounds exciting but it will be interesting to see who will actually step up and latch themselves onto the project. It’s such a touchy issue, especially among African American males in hip hop.


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