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UPDATE: BET's Rap-It-Up Sponsors Celebrity Teen Forum & Block Party During Magic Johnson's 18th Annual 'A Midsummer Night's Magic' in LA, July 24 - 27.

LOS ANGELES, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- BET's Rap-It-Up campaign, an award- winning national HIV/AIDS public awareness initiative, joins a prestigious lineup of sponsors to support Earvin "Magic" Johnson's 18th Annual "A Midsummer Night's Magic" to be held in Los Angeles, July 24 - 27. In keeping with the network's goal to raise awareness of the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in the African American community, Rap-It-Up will host a celebrity teen forum and conduct HIV testing for game tickets during Magic's Block Party.

Since its launch in November 1998, BET's Rap-It-Up Campaign has tested over 4,000 people nationwide; managed over 760,000 calls via the Rap-It-Up toll-free hotline; hosted community teen forums for over 2,300 youth; and reached millions of viewers via HIV-related programming, including award- winning news specials, documentaries and public service announcements.

"Young people account for half of all new HIV infections. If we are to curb this disturbing trend, we must arm our youth with all the information necessary to make smart, informed choices," said Sonya Lockett, BET's Director of Public Affairs. "Rap-It-Up utilizes a variety of resources including corporate partnerships, community forums and special programming to ensure the message of HIV prevention is effectively disseminated."

Kicking off the series of BET-sponsored events during the "Midsummer Night's Magic" weekend is a Rap-It-Up teen forum moderated by BET's own Joe Clair and Tiffany on Saturday, July 26 from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel (all events are pacific time). Opening the forum will be NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who will speak to high school and college-bound students from Magic Johnson's Life Skills program; Inglewood's First Church of God; and the West Angeles Church.

Medical expert Dr. Theresa McGilbray will join a celebrity panel to discuss social issues affecting teens, including the rise of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. Celebrity panelists include actress Megan Goode (Deliver Us From Eva); Kareem Rush of the LA Lakers; Indiana Pacers' Jonathan Bender; UPN's One-On-One co-star Sicily; Irulan Wilson and Alton Williams from MTV's Real World Las Vegas; Tami Anderson from MTV's Real World Los Angeles; Alexis Fields (guest appearances on One-On-One and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper); and 100.3 The Beat personality Nautica de la Cruz.

On Sunday, July 27 from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Rap-It-Up will conduct HIV testing for game tickets in partnership with the Aids Healthcare Foundation outside of the Los Angeles Staples Center. Individuals who take the health test will receive a ticket to attend Johnson's celebrity and all-star basketball games.

Following is a schedule of BET-sponsored events during Magic Johnson's "A Midsummer Night's Magic" July 24 - 27, 2003 (all events are pacific time):
 July 26 BET's Rap-It-Up Teen Forum
 Featuring guest speaker Magic Johnson, BET hosts a youth forum
 moderated by BET's Joe Clair and Tiffany. The celebrity forum
 will address a variety of teen-related issues focusing on
 HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. The event will start
 at Noon in the LaJolla Ballroom at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton
 Hotel.
 July 27 "Testing for Tickets" for Magic's Celebrity & All-Star Charity
 Games
 BET's Rap-It-UP will partner with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation
 to conduct HIV testing for tickets. Individuals who take the
 health test will receive a ticket to attend both Magic's
 celebrity game featuring such personalities as Ashton Kutcher,
 Frankie Muniz, Morris Chestnut, Snoop Dogg and Flex Alexander;
 and the all-star game with NBA players including LA Lakers' Gary
 Payton, Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, Portland Trailblazers' Bonzi
 Wells and NBA rookies LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. HIV
 testing will take place from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. outside of
 the Staples Center on Chick Hearn Court and South Figueroa
 Street.
 Magic's Block Party
 Hot rapper Fabolous*, hip-hop diva Lil' Mo* and others are
 guaranteed to burn up the "BET on Wheels" mobile soundstage
 during live concerts from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. outside of the
 Staples Center on Chick Hearn Court. Concert goers can also
 partake in games, food, and product sampling from a variety of
 vendors such as Lincoln, MBNA Credit Card Corporation, Sketchers,
 and Hewlett Packard's interactive computer mobile. Local radio
 stations, KJLH, Power 106, 92.3, and 100.3 The Beat will also be
 on hand to hype the crowd.
 *Talent subject to change
 Media Opportunities:
 Rap-It-Up Teen Forum, Testing for Game Tickets and Magic's Block
 Party; interview and photo opportunities with celebrity
 panelists, BET Talent, Performing Talent and Rap-It-Up
 Representatives


Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at http://www.ticketmaster.com/ or http://www.magicjohnson.org/, and the Magic Johnson Foundation event hotline at 888-MAGIC-05.

For information on obtaining media credentials for additional "A Midsummer's Night Magic" events, please contact Alescia Buford & Associates at 818.995.6545 or email requests to Bufordevents@aol.com

Since 1998, BET and the Kaiser Foundation have partnered to educate the African-American community on sexual health issues, reaching millions of viewers and generating more than 760,000 calls to the campaign's toll-free information and referral line (1-866-RAPITUP). "Rap It Up," an award-winning HIV/AIDS awareness campaign launched in 2000, includes special on-air programming, targeted public service announcements (PSAs) and extensive print, online (http://www.rap-it-up.com/) and referral resources. Callers to the toll-free line can also request an informational booklet on sexual health. Black Entertainment Television (BET), a subsidiary of Viacom, is the nation's leading 24-hour television network providing quality entertainment, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 75 million households according to Nielsen media research.

CONTACT: Lyntina Townsend of BET (Black Entertainment Television), +1-202-608-2745, or lyntina.townsend@bet.net

Web site: http://www.bet.com/ http://www.rap-it-up.com/ http://www.magicjohnson.org/
COPYRIGHT 2003 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 18, 2003
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