Monday, November 28, 2011

The Cyber Monday Spin Down

The holiday season is now officially in full swing with today's next consumer retail romp over the Internet via Cyber Monday madness. Fortunately for COP 24/7 our high speed connection is intact and I'm locked and loaded with arm load of topics, observations, opinions and many other fascinating items to fill our week. I encourage you to bookmark, opt-ine-mail and of course come join us as a follower, because you don't want to miss out any of our posting this week or any week for that matter. Without any further delay, let the chips fall where they may....

Arkansas Minority Health Goes Concert, Again

Did you hear it about it? What you ask, it's the Arkansas Minority Health Commissions World AIDS Day Gospel Awareness concert being held Dec 1, at the mega temple St. Marks Baptist Church ( 5722 West 12 Street). In case you haven't heard and most likely you haven't, the event is being heralded over "urban" radio citing it as a must see item. On the bill this outing are gospel artist VaShawn Mitchell and Lemmie Battles, doors open at 6pm and show starts at 7pm. Organizers are touting this free event as an evening of education and praise. That's all well and fine and COP 24/7 understands that as we continue to discover creative means to "message" to targeted populations, this forum finds it a bit strange that yet another "Gospel" concert is the chosen vehicle. It's no secret to the importance of religion within the Black community not to mention the significance of the church from a societal stand point. However the statistics bear out several  key factors such as HIV/AIDS infection rates have increased 48 percent among "Black Men having sex with Men," in Arkansas we know that at least 4,000 individuals are not in care at this time resulting in this state having the highest unmet need in the country and our care paradox of testing without sustaining resources will not be addressed by another cookie cutter free concert. Let me be clear, I love some good music overlayed with some praise and I found wonderful footage of the entertainers from other venues singing to the heavens, but is any of this really going to translate into any game changing outcomes. Has there been any "assessments" done of these types of pursuits? Who is in charge of the outreach to the targeted community and could there be some mixed signals sent through such events? Therefore could I suggest some of the following:

1. What if all the Black churches in the city ask their congregations to give an offering to a Crisis Fund for those living or affected by HIV/AIDS?

2. Instead of a Gospel concert, what if a weekly cable show or web series was produced featuring updates on what services are now available or have possibly changed in the greater central Arkansas area.

3. What about more pubic forums similar to last years ACT Aware, Let's Talk About It, or creating spaces for stakeholders, consumers and or allies to engage on similar topics on a more regular basis. Maybe during some of these type approaches, it could be defined as what type of messaging would garner impact.

There's been some great programming including Sheryl Lee Ralph's one woman show,"Sometimes I Cry," which was well attended even though there were some logistic issues that I found awkward. Also attempts at comedy shows, seminars, billboard campaigns and etc. have come and gone, but what we continue to learn despite much effort is the fact that much of the messaging is not penetrating into the community as designed. Whatever happened to the Annual African American HIV/AIDS Community Awareness Banquet or any of the array of activities that" pop up and flame out" with no reported outcomes except dollars spent as problems persist. Ironically as we talk about messaging, there was no information on the AMHC website concerning this event, nor on St. Mark's savvy website or calendar of events but surprisingly we located a blurb on the Better Communities site. Also there are great YouTube clips of the artist to get a feel for what you may be seeing. Let's keep our thinking caps on as we all forge ahead in this health dilemma. In the meantime here's a link to enjoy:

Rapper TI Talks Out Loud

In a posting on the Huffington Post as well as another article to be printed in the December 6 issue of VIBE magazine, Rap artist and parolee TI shares his mindset on the LGBTQ community, 1st Amendment views and other things that the interviewer could wrangle from him. There's one thing about this forum that has been from the jump is the fact that we bring many viewpoints to the floor from various perspectives while always encouraging discussion. The article is as follows below.

It's been quite a year for celebrities who speak their minds regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
From Tracy Morgan, who shocked an audience (and the country) with a homophobic stand-up set that included a joke about killing his son if he ever came out, to Kelly Osbourne who gave an interview that included what many felt was anti-trans language (she quickly -- and very powerfully -- apologized), opinions from stars on LGBT matters haven't been hard to find.
Even the 2012 Oscars -- thanks to director Brett Ratner's careless use of the word "faggot" during a Q&A -- had to be rebooted.
Celebs sounding off about LGBT topics isn't an uncommon occurrence in the hip-hop world, either, where rappers like 50 Cent, Eminem, and Tyler The Creator have come under fire for anti-gay statements and lyrics and where pro-gay artists like Nicki Minaj and Fat Joe have stood up for the community.
Now in a new cover story in Vibe magazine rapper T.I. throws his two cents into the pile.
In the December issue of the magazine T.I. says (in part):
"Man, I will say this, the funniest joke I ever heard Tracy say during a stand-up was, 'C'mon man, I think gay people are too sensitive. If you can take a dick, you can take a joke.' [Cracks up laughing.] That shit was funny to me. And it’s kind of true." While T.I. makes clear that he supports anyone’s sexual preference, he then connects, in his opinion, a current oversensitivity among gay people with a consequential and ironic offense of the First Amendment. "They’re like, 'If you have an opinion against us, we're gonna shut you down.' ... That's not American. If you're gay you should have the right to be gay in peace, and if you're against it you should have the right to be against it in peace."
What are your thoughts? Freedom of speech or hate speech? Sound off in the comments section and let us know what you are thinking!


No comments: