Florida: A Reason for Rhymes; An AIDS Awareness Poet Takes His One-Man Show on the Road
May 20, 2005
A year after finding himself bored at a seminar on HIV/AIDS hosted by the Florida Department of Health, Palm Beach Community College (PBCC) student Devin Robinson devised his own way to communicate with young people about the epidemic. The 21-year-old theater major travels the country, performing his original spoken-word poetry about characters who contract HIV, including a football player, an amateur boxer, an inmate, and a self-professed thug.
Robinson has recruited approximately 30 other aspiring rappers, actors and singers in AIDS Awareness Poets (AAP), a student club on campus. Members have attended Red Cross HIV training sessions, handed out HIV/AIDS information and condoms to clubgoers in West Palm Beach, and organized free HIV testing at the college.
Growing up, Robinson said, he and his friends weren't concerned about HIV; instead, they set out "to have as much sex with as many girls as possible." "I didn't think it was that big, it couldn't happen to me, it was only people in Africa," he said.
Although he practices abstinence, Robinson and AAP frankly discuss condom use in their presentations. AAP and Robinson have appeared before South Florida gay and lesbian groups and performed for about 100 public school students at an annual teen summit sponsored by Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach and Broward County. Recently, the group appeared at the Ryan White Youth Conference in Nashville and at the National Youth Leadership Council Conference in Long Beach, Calif.
05.15.2005; Ashley Fantz
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.