Africa Bambaataa Protests Kool Mixx Championships

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.

Attorney Generals

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.

"Your body

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


The competition

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."

Another professor,

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."