MacArthur Middle School students recently could be heard filling thehallways with the positive rap message, "Up with hope, down with dope, and protect yourself against AIDS."
The message was an outgrowth of the Baltimore Care Connection's Jan. 25 production of "A Time for Life, We're Protecting Ourselves Against AIDS."
This original musical dance-rap production, written by Morgan State University graduate Bryant B. Bolling, was developed primarily foraudiences of preteens and teen-agers, but is also appropriate for older audiences.
Bolling, who claims the production has played to more than 70,000 in two years, said he developed the production with the help of an educational grant.
"I previewed several other AIDS productions for kids before writing this one," he said. "All the otherscame across so gloomy. I wanted to do something more upbeat and positive, something to make the kids feel good about themselves."
The Baltimore Care Connection, with the help of MacArthur student stage crew members Ralph Marden, Laura Smith, Dwain Hires, Sam Smith and Adballah Simms, were able to pull off an MTV-like production that totally captivated the 550-member student audience.
The messages of thisinnovative production were clear:
* Abstain from sex until you are ready for a mature, meaningful relationship (until marriage is best).
* Care about yourself.
* If you do participate in sex, protect yourself.
* Stay away from drugs.
The dangers to children also were presented. "Of the over 4,000 cases of AIDS reported in in Maryland, 25 percent of those cases are young people like you and younger," Bolling told the audience.
In the bright, upbeat finale, student stage-crew members joined in the dance-rap message that later echoed in the hallways, while the student body clapped and cheered enthusiastically.
MacArthur Middle School is the only county school so far to view the production.
Other interested educators or civic groups should contact the Baltimore Care Connection at 783-0546.