Common AIDS Rap Winner

(PR) Today, Hip-hop artist and actor Common and his Common Ground Foundation, in collaboration with the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV, with support from Youth Speaks, announced today that 18-year old recent high school graduate, Jose Rivera from Ewing, Nebraska, was the winner of the A Minute lyrics contest to encourage young people to get tested for HIV.

Rivera's lyrics touting the importance of knowing one's HIV status bested more that 2,400 other entries submitted by young people throughout the U.S. The contest was developed as part of Kaiser and MTV's long-standing public information partnership on HIV and related issues, called It's Your (Sex) Life.

Jose's lyrics will be performed by Common in a one-minute video performance that will premiere Thursday, June 26th on MTV's TRL (Total Request Live) [nice of them to send us the news after it happened] in the lead up to National HIV Testing Day (June 27th) and will air throughout the summer on MTV2 and mtvU, MTV's college network, as well as be available on demand at www.itsyoursexlife.com. Also featured on www.itsyoursexlife.com and www.aminutecontest.com will be a blog by Rivera, photos and video from the PSA shoot with Common, and the lyrics from the 10 finalists.

"It's important to know your status by getting tested because HIV/AIDS is taking a lot of lives in our community and around the world. I had an uncle succumb to HIV, so I've personally felt the impact of the disease," said Grammy Award winning artist Common. "Your lyrics can really have an affect on people's lives and I've seen it happen."

By combining the talent and popular appeal of an artist of the standing of Common with the voice of a young person, like Jose, we hope to convey the importance of HIV testing in a way that resonates with other youth," said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation.

"This contest offered a great opportunity for our audience to use Think MTV as a loudspeaker for the issues that affect them most," said Ian Rowe, VP of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnership, MTV. "Protection against HIV/AIDS as well as protecting their sexual health overall, continues to be of concern to our audience, and we are proud to have worked with Kaiser and Common to give voice to such meaningful lyrics to help break the stigma associated with HIV testing."

Jose recently graduated from high school and is looking forward to attending Northeast Community College in Nebraska this fall where he will be studying automobile technology. He hopes to open his own auto body shop with his brother someday. Jose entered the contest to convey the importance of knowing one's status. And as an aspiring writer the contest presented a unique opportunity to potentially work with Common an accomplished lyricist.

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