BET Unveils World AIDS Day Programming Lineup

BET and the Kaiser Family Foundation today announced a line up of special HIV-themed programming to mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1, 2005 as part their Rap It-Up HIV/AIDS public awareness initiative. New interactive content will also be available on both http://www.bet.com and http://www.rap-it-up.com websites. Launched in 1998, the initiative has sought to inform and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately impacts African Americans.

On Thursday, December 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, BET will premiere the 2005 Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition winner, MULTITUDE OF MERCIES written and produced by a Washington, DC-based writing team made up of Drew Anderson, Justin Follin, Charneice Fox and Michelle Sewell. MULTITUDE OF MERCIES depicts the poignant story of a young Black minister’s struggle with HIV/AIDS-related issues within his church and his Washington, DC neighborhood. Veteran actor Malcolm Jamal Warner plays an HIV/AIDS counselor and R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn plays himself in featured cameos throughout the film, which also challenges the issues of community activism and leadership as it relates to HIV/AIDS. The Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Film Subject Screenplay Competition is a partnership of BET, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Black AIDS Institute, and the YWCA.

Preceding the premiere of MULTITUDE OF MERCIES and kicking off the World AIDS Day lineup will be special HIV-themed episodes of sitcoms THE PARKERS entitled “She’s Positive”; and the GIRLFRIENDS episode “The Pact” which will air on Thursday, December 1 at 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. respectively. Throughout the day on December 1, BET NEWS will also televise special news briefs that examine the impact of HIV/AIDS in African-American communities.

In addition to HIV-related programming, BET.com will provide new Rap-It-Up interactive content on http://www.rap-it-up.com, including a hosted online chat at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT with “Tha Hip Hop Doc” Dr. Rani Whitfield.

On Sunday, December 4, the cable network continues its dedicated World AIDS Day programming with an HIV-themed movie block. The set will kickoff with an encore broadcast of MULTITUDE OF MERCIES at 1:00 p.m., followed by the critically-acclaimed Rap-It-Up films WALKING ON SUNSHINE and TANGY’S SONG! airing at 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.

Wrapping up the HIV/AIDS-focused programming will be a special two-part series of JEFF JOHNSON CHRONICLES: RAP-IT UP/SEX IT UP. BET’s Jeff Johnson hosts the public affairs special that explores the relationship between hip hop music and its audience, specifically looking at issues of sexuality and health through conversations with various hip hop artists, health officials, academics, cultural critics, and young people. The first show entitled, “Hip Hop and Sexuality,” airs on Sunday, December 11 at 1:00 p.m. and focuses on the cultural questions about Hip Hop and sexuality and encourages viewers to question how depictions in hip hop media impact the choices they may make about their health and relationships. On Sunday, December 18 at 1:00 p.m., part two of the series titled “Hip Hop Fantasy and Reality” touches on the fantasized depiction of hip hop and its impact on the Hip Hop generation.

Since 1998, BET has partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation on Rap-It-Up. To date, the initiative has helped to test over 8,000 people nationwide for HIV; received over one million calls to its toll-free hotline; distributed over 360,000 HIV/AIDS information brochures, and hosted community teen forums in over 29 cities for over 9,000 young adults.

Via PRNewswire

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