Hip-Hop artist Common
is joining with Viacom Inc. and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to present
a series of motivational public service advertisements (PSA’s) encouraging
HIV testing as part of the KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign.
is Beautiful" PSAs, which launched in June, seek to educate young people
on the importance of HIV testing, especially groups most at risk.
"It was really
important for me to be involved with a campaign that is raising awareness of
HIV/AIDS. I had an uncle succumb to HIV, so I’ve personally felt the impact
of the disease,” Common said. “It’s important for everyone to be
aware that this disease doesn’t just affect a single race or sexual orientation.”
With the aid of
Common, who narrates scenes of individuals in intimate or reflective moments,
the campaign hopes to inspire high-risk groups to get tested.
wear a small adhesive bandage that indicates an HIV test, and Common’s original
spoken word poetry serves to reveal the empowerment of being tested for the
billboards stress the assurance of knowing one’s HIV status by displaying Common
with a small adhesive bandage to show that he got tested.
can hear Common’s powerful message through recorded PSAs that feature similar
is Beautiful’ campaign was especially important to me because I’m a true advocate
of taking care of and loving ourselves, and that’s really what this campaign
is about,” Common said.
word artists Black Ice and Bassey Ikipi also contribute their voices to the
In addition to
billboard, bus and bus shelter advertising in large markets, the "Knowing
is Beautiful" PSAs will run through the Viacom networks CBS, UPN, MTV,
VH1, BET and Comedy Central among others.
evolution of the campaign draws on an icon of hip-hop culture tom powerfully
communicate the initiative’s lifesaving messages and ensure that they resonate
with communities that are most adversely affected," Sumner Redstone, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, said in a statement.
is available at the KNOW HIV/AIDS site www.knowhivaids.org.
Common is currently
working on his new album BE with producer Kanye West, scheduled for
a spring release in 2005.