Actor Lamman Rucker admitted to making some bad choices when he was a college basketball player, and shared how he was able to take self-control.
WBNA player Shameka Christon offered a similar story about not giving in to negative peer pressure, knowing that STDs or pregnancy would slow down her goals to play pro ball. P., a member of the R&B group J Adore, related a story of leaving a steamy embrace to go buy condoms and finding himself stuck on the staircase, part of him wanting to go back inside without protection.
“We all individually have to be mature about what we’re looking at.
Adults need to help children interpret what they’re experiencing.
Stokes, who brings with her a long résumé that includes having been a member of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council under President Clinton, writing, and motivational speaking, says: “My first approach is what I don’t want to offer—a talking head telling them what to do,” she says, sharing that she offers up her experiences to teens—learning about infection at a young age, trying to adjust to living with HIV/AIDS, a slew of bad decisions and their consequences, her feelings through it all—and then challenges them to become more self-aware about their decision-making processes.
Stokes has been impressed with the potential of teens around the country, whom, she says, do not get enough credit for what they think about or for what “they are willing to talk about if given a chance.
Long before he joined the work of Rap-It-Up, he became certified as a peer educator and teen sexuality counselor while attending the Duke Ellington High School for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.
C., in the late eighties thanks to a program sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington called WAITT (Washington Area Improvisational Teen Theater), and the leadership of a “wonderful, wonderful woman” named Margaret Copemann.
You put the words, ‘Lamman Rucker’ or ‘Avant’ on the billboard and suddenly there’s standing room only,” Stokes says, joking that her name alone might not do the trick.
In particular, Lockett shares, Rucker’s “strong, passionate” voice helps to counter the stigma, especially in the African-American community, that AIDS is a gay disease.
And receivers need to be accountable, too; otherwise we’ll just point fingers.” Rucker might as well be describing BET’s value system, whose bottom line seems not to rest with profits but with its viewers’ lives.