Veteran emcee Keith Murray revealed to HipHopDX through spokespeople that he's presently Mozambique on a global mission to draw more awareness to children suffering from HIV/AIDS as part of World AIDS Day (honored yesterday, December 1).
The UnderGods/Def Squad member’s trip includes a number of concerts, public appearances and charity work in Mozambique through December 7. Part of the trip includes visiting the orphans in the village of Maputo, the country’s capital, as well as the ABC Organization in Mozambique.
The trip has a very personal connection for the 37-year-old Murray. The native New York rapper lost his mother to HIV through a blood transfusion when he was 20 and then his sister to the deadly disease when he was 23.
“The impact that HIV and AIDS can have on a person and a family is something that I know on a very personal level, which is why I was so determined to make this trip,” said Murray in a statement to HipHopDX. “The most painful part is watching people close to you go through it and feeling that there’s nothing you can do to help.”
It’s estimated that roughly 1.8 million of Mozambique’s nearly 20 million residents or 16 percent are infected with AIDS. Orphans reportedly account for 510,000 of the country’s AIDS cases.
The first AIDS case in Mozambique was diagnosed in 1986. Mozambique is where one of the first organizations was formed to spearhead the fight against AIDS, the National AIDS Commission.
Murray's outreach efforts in Mozambique begin with a concert in Maputo at the Maxaquene Pavilion today (December 2). His visit will also include a December 3, visit at a children’s orphanage and work-shop with young students to openly discuss issues around HIV/AIDS.
“I think talking about it helps,” said Murray.
Tobias Bradford, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique, said they are thrilled to have Murray in the country for the World AIDS Day concerts and events.
“We believe that his combination of a compelling personal history, and his ability to reach youth through his music and messages will help tens of thousands of young Mozambicans make more positive choices,” said Bradford. “At the same time, his visit will generate donations that provide food and other necessities to hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children. This project has the potential for enormous impact across the country.”
Murray’s outreach visit to the area also includes a December 4, concert in Beira Center of Mozambique and several other guest appearances wrapping up with an autograph signing December 7.
“Seeing the impact that HIV/AIDS has had in Mozambique has made that much more focused on bringing more attention to the disease,” Murray said. “It puts a lot of things in perspective on how much more we need to be doing on a global level to deal with this disease.”
After releasing an UnderGods EP earlier this year with fellow '90s emcee Canibus, Murray is currently working on his eighth LP due out some time next year.
For booking Keith Murray, contact Erik Perry at 734-391-5004.