A group of protesters
that included Hip-Hop legend Africa Bambaataa boycotted the Kool Mixx DJ Championship
in Chicago on Saturday (July 24).
The majority of
states that make up the United States of America have filed lawsuits against
Brown & Williamson, makers of the Kool brand of cigarettes.
in various states including Illinois claim that Brown & Williamson violated
a 1998 billion dollar settlement agreement between the U.S. and cigarette makers
to stop targeting potential underage smokers.
is your first temple, your first mosque, your first church," Bambaataa
said in front of the Vic Theatre. "We’ve got to respect what goes in our
has gone on for six years, but this is the first year that the Kool cigarettes
came in packages featuring brown-skinned people.
That bolsters claims
that Brown & Williamson are marketing the cigarettes to African-American
and Hispanic youth.
Brown & Williamson
said the packaging was a mistake and discontinued the line.
In an affidavit
accompanying a lawsuit filed against Brown & Williamson in Baltimore, Maryland,
a professor at the University of Southern California labeled Brown & Williamson’s
Kool campaign effective marketing to a select group of people.
is one of the music genres most preferred by the youth culture, and the popularity
of this genre declines as the age group increases," Kamins said. "As
a result, linking one’s marketing strategy to Hip-Hop is an extremely effective
approach if a company wishes to sell its product to youth."
Richard Daynard of Northeastern University, labeled Brown & Williamson “particularly
A spokesman for
Brown & Williamson defended the marketing campaign, claiming Hip-Hop was
popular in the 25-34 demographic. The spokesman also said magazine advertisements
are only included in publications sent to adult subscribers.
"When we say
it is brand merchandise, they say it is not,” Marlene Trestmen, special
assistant to Baltimore’s attorney general relating to tobacco issues told
the Baltimore Sun. "When we say it is youth-targeting, they say they did
not. To have any certainty in the state of Maryland, we were really left with
no choice but to proceed with this enforcement action."