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AIDS concert helps with stigmatisation

AIDS concert helps with stigmatisation

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The crowd was small but the talents were “Hulk Like” as a number of organizations came together to stage a concert Wednesday at the Peace Memorial Hall in recognition of World Aids Day, December 1.

The Hall probably felt its strongest vibrations since its refurbishment when Nzimbu Browne started the show with his African drumming. {{more}}That set the mood for a sweet musical performance entitled “Where You Run Away” by the male duo known as “Sonjay”. Next came a skit entitled “Sex Lies and HIV/Aids” done by artiste Shernelle “Skarpyon” Williams, Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle, Orlando “Syxx” Foster, promoter “Splectron” and Maurissa Horne.

The play spoke about a pastor’s daughter, Keisha (Horne), whose promiscuous behaviour eventually leads to the contraction of the deadly pandemic. The pastor, played by “Skarpyon”, is being lied to by his daughter whom he is convinced is still a virgin. Meanwhile Keisha is sleeping with a drug dealer known as Bouncer played by “Skinny Fabulous”.

Bouncer is eventually shot and when Keisha goes to give blood, she finds out she’s infected. Meanwhile she has just slept with Reggie (Splectron) who had refused to use a condom claiming that he was tested two months ago and “a nice pastor daughter” could not have AIDS. At the end of the play, the pastor finds out that Keisha had slept with over 10 men, including one of the church elders, who has in turn passed the disease onto his wife, a domino effect that is in fact no play.

Next on the programme was a monologue by “Syxx” entitled “Death” in which he focused on persons who contracted AIDS and were abandoned by friends and family. He warned against the destructive nature of rumours and speculation. Yaphatoo performed two songs which got the rapt attention of the crowd, entitled “The Space Between Us” and “Endless Love”. The Image Modelling Agency did a creative dance/modelling combination which one promoter described as one of the most creative pieces she had seen in a long time.

The Hard Knock Family ended the first half of the show with their dub number, “Aids Will Take us to the End of Days”.

After the intermission, the No. 21 Rangers Unit did a skit centred about the stigma attached to the disease. The play entitled “My Good Friend John” painted a picture of a boy who contracted Aids and was being hidden from the public and friends by his family.

Dynamic performances also came from “Skinny Fabulous” with “Let These Words Echo” which touched on AIDS, violence and war in the Middle East. From the lyrics of the song and the reaction of the small crowd, it’s evident that Skinny has made yet another hit that can go international.

This year’s Ragga Soca King Skarpyon had the crowd rocking while Singing Shaunelle McKenzie with “Lean On Me” struck an emotional chord with those present.

The show with Vynette Fredericks as Master of Ceremonies ended with a performance of the Triple A theme song “Join Hands” as the audience joined hands and sang their hearts out.

The event was jointly sponsored by Trend Bank, Republic of China on Taiwan, Hot 97.1, Quik Print, Graphic Element, Vee Jays, Pier 1, the St. Vincent Brewery and the Peace Memorial Hall.

The concert entitled “Triple A and Friends Live in Theatre” was organised by Triple A-Artiste Against Aids, the National Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) network on HIV/AIDS and the HIV/AIDS Unit with special help from counsellor Shanti Crosby. Jeannie McDonald, Louis Mitchell and Mark Cyrus coordinated the event.

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