HIV epidemic in black community reborn
Musician and HIV activist Eric Lynn Wright Jr., better known by his stage name Lil Eazy-E and Lil Eazy, will be in Phoenix to talk with youth about HIV. He will be speaking at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 19 at the Parsons Center for Health and Wellness at 1101 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. His father, Eazy E, a pioneer in rap music, died due to complications from the AIDS virus one month after his diagnosis, on March 26, 1995. He was 31 years old.
Wright, Jr. shared, “After my father’s death, I started doing AIDS awareness work and went out and tested with individuals and campaigned for people to go get checked, talked about what it meant and how it affected me, how it’s important to the community. I was more vocal with the younger generation.”
Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about HIV and the black community are jarring:
- One in four gay black men will be HIV+ by the time they are 25 and one in two will be HIV positive by the time they are 35. If nothing changes, in 30 years the federal government estimates that 70% of gay black men will be positive by the time they are 20. This jarring statistic was presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the 2013 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conference.
- African Americans and other black communities represent only 14 percent of the nation’s population but account for a staggeringly disproportionate 44 percent of all new HIV infections.
- HIV is gaining ground at high levels in the South. Atlanta is an epicenter of a new HIV/AIDS epidemic and that should concern the black community no matter the geography.
Eric was born April 23, 1984 in Compton, California, and is the oldest son of gangsta rap pioneer Eazy-E. He was born and raised in the same Compton house his father grew up in. He is manager and CEO of his own production company NWA Entertainment, LLC. He also manages Compton MoneyGang with his brother Derrek Wright and family.
Wright Jr.’s event in Phoenix is being sponsored by Diamond Epiphany and Aunt Rita’s Foundation. Diamond Epiphany focuses on awareness and prevention and has the expertise to help single parents and their families through the complexities of HIV and cancer. Aunt Rita’s Foundation has granted over $1.5 million to its member agencies since 2005. The foundation accomplishes this through direct public education and fundraising through signature events, SAVORlife and Arizona AIDS Walk & 5K Run. Their statewide education about HIV/AIDS is provided through a website created by the agency, hivaz.org. For more information, visit www.auntritas.org or call 602-882-8675.