Rapper Common is launching "A Minute," a new lyrical contest encouraging young people to get tested for HIV it was announced today (February 14).
The contest, which kicks off today on MTVs TRL (Total Request Live) show, offers youth the opportunity to submit lyrics or poems addressing why getting tested for HIV is important.
Common will perform the winning entry in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that is slated to premiere on National HIV Testing Day, which takes place on June 27.
"It's important to know your status by getting tested because HIV/AIDS is taking a lot of lives in our community and around the world," Common said. "I had an uncle succumb to HIV, so I've personally felt the impact of the disease. Your lyrics can really have an affect on people's lives and I've seen it happen."
THE PSAs are being produced in conjunction with the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV, and the Common Ground Foundation and Youth Speaks, a leading nonprofit that presents spoken word performances and education and youth development programs throughout the country.
The one-minute PSA will air on MTV2 and mtvU, MTVs college network.
"This contest offers our audience an amazing way to bring their words to life - through Common's voice - and will serve as a powerful way to drive home the importance of getting tested," added Ian Rowe, VP of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnership, MTV. "Aside from being a groundbreaking artist and notable actor, Common has proven to be a true leader in the fight to break the stigma associated with HIV testing, and we're proud to partner with him on this cause."
Entries must be submitted by March 27 and can be submitted in text, audio or video form.