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BET Networks' Award-Winning Rap-It-Up HIV/AIDS Campaign Returns to New York City for The Youth Empowerment Tour on November 13-16

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- BET Networks' national HIV/AIDS public awareness initiative Rap-It-Up returns to New York City to host a series of celebrity health forums throughout New York City and Newark, N.J., to address the social issues, sexual behavior and attitudes impacting today's young adults; as well as the rise of HIV/AIDS in the urban community. Rap-It-Up is partnering with youth empowerment organization Hip Hop 4 Life and local radio station Hot 97 for the weeklong series of HIV/AIDS events taking place on Tuesday, November 13 through Friday, November 16.

The Rap-It-Up four-day tour will visit various local area high schools, including: Harlem's Bread and Roses High School; Newark, N.J.'s East Side High School; the Bronx Community High School; and Brooklyn's Erasmus High School. BET personality Alesha Renee will serve as forum moderator, and forum panelists will include: R&B singer Sammie; HIV/AIDS activist Marvelyn Brown; a local Hot 97 personality; and a local HIV/AIDS educator. There will be a meet & greet for high school students, as well as health materials and giveaways distributed to event attendees following the forums.*

The state of New York ranks #1 of the top 10 states with the most African Americans estimated to be living with AIDS. Today's disturbing statistics have shown that African Americans account for the most AIDS diagnoses, people estimated to be living with AIDS, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial group within the United States. Presently, African-American women account for 67 percent of new AIDS cases among women, and although African-American teens (ages 13-19) represent only 16 percent of U.S. teens, they accounted for 69 percent of newly reported AIDS cases in 2005.

To date, BET's Rap-It-Up campaign has tested more than 11,800 people nationwide for HIV infection; managed more than 1.1 million calls to the Rap- It-Up toll-free hotline; hosted community teen forums for more than 10,000 youth in more than 33 U.S. cities; distributed more than 400,000 sexual health information guides; and reached millions of viewers via HIV-related programming on BET, including award-winning news specials, documentaries and public service announcements.

Following is a detailed event schedule for the BET Rap-It-Up forums in the New York area:

*Note: the Rap-It-Up celebrity health forums are open to selected high school students only.

-- Tuesday, November 13 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Bread and Roses High School, 6 Edgecombe Avenue, Harlem, N.Y.

-- Wednesday, November 14 from 1:00-2:45 p.m.

East Side High School, 238 Van Buren Street, Newark, N.J.

-- Thursday, November 15 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Bronx Community High School, 916 Eagle Avenue, Bronx, N.Y.

-- Friday, November 16 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Erasmus High School, 916 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Coverage of BET Rap-It-Up Health Forums; Interview and Photo Opportunities with BET Rap-It-Up representatives; celebrity forum panelists; and event partners.

For up-to-the-minute and archival press information including releases and photographs, visit BET's press-only Web site at


Since 1998, the Kaiser Family Foundation and BET Networks have partnered on an extensive public education campaign to inform young people about sexual health issues, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). The partnership includes special programming, public service advertisements (PSAs), online content on, and a free resource and referral service. In 2000, the campaign launched a grassroots initiative to complement the on-air and online components of Rap-It-Up. Program elements include teen forums, mobile HIV testing events, and middle and high school curricula about HIV/AIDS. The campaign has received numerous awards, including 10 Cable Positive POP Awards, a 2005 NAACP Image Award Nomination for "Walking on Sunshine", the 2002 CTPAA Joel Berger Award, and the 2002 Academy of Television Arts & Science TV Cares "Ribbon of Hope" Award. Additionally, the campaign has received 3 Emmy nominations for Best National Public Service Announcements (2002/2003, 2003/2004, and 2004/2005).


BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 87 million households according to Nielsen Media Research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions:, a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

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