DJ Kool Herc (born Clive Campbell) is in good spirits but still needs medical and financial help. Late Monday, The New York Times reported that the hip-hop pioneer was recently hospitalized due to complications from kidney stones — a painful, yet treatable, condition made all the worse due to Herc’s lack of health insurance.
“We live in one of the superpowers of the world!” Herc said in a statement to MTV News on Tuesday (February 1). ” ‘Give me your tired, your poor … ‘ and then you don’t take care of them? There should be no weak ants in the colony. There shouldn’t be anyone fighting for health care! This has been going on too damn long! We fought for 1520 Sedgwick to get landmark status, and in 2007, New York State officially recognized it as the ‘Birthplace of Hip Hop.’ Now we are fighting for health care not just for me, but for everyone. I see this situation as another quest for me to shine light on a sensitive issue for the community. I’m an instrument of God. I’m here for a purpose and I want to be here for the solution.”
This isn’t the first time a hip-hop artist has fallen victim to high medical costs. The late Too Poetic of the Gravediggaz rallied for health insurance and the creation of a union for rappers before succumbing to colon cancer in 2001.
Herc’s situation again puts a spotlight on the need for health care — not just for celebrities, but for ordinary citizens as well. President Obama’s recent health care reform is being challenged by the GOP-led House of Representatives, and some think the reform didn’t go far enough to make coverage available to everyone.
Some hip-hop fans have pointed out high-profile artists spending lavishly — such as Diddy buying his 17-year-old son a Maybach and Rick Ross allegedly spending $1 million on his 35th birthday celebration — as reasons why they should lend Herc a hand. While rap artists aren’t obligated to pay anyone’s bills but their own, sliding one of hip-hop’s founding fathers a health bailout might be a good look.
Do you think hip-hop newcomers should lend Herc a hand? Share your thoughts in the comments.