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New York Times Update on Kool Herc

D.J. Kool Herc, the turntable magician known as the Father of Hip-Hop, needs help conjuring up some money to cover bills.

Although the blogosphere lighted up over the weekend with alarming but vague reports that he was facing “a very serious illness” and “broke,” he is actually at home and grappling with the aftermath of surgery for kidney stones.

His lack of medical insurance, however, is quite real, despite his status as a living legend who helped create a cultural form that became a global – and lucrative – force.

Herc, born Clive Campbell, is the latest hip-hop pioneer for whom an otherwise routine medical issue morphed into a financial crisis for lack of insurance.

“This is just a disgrace that Kool Herc has to negotiate over the details of his health care,” said Bill Adler, a former executive with Def Jam Records and a historian of the genre. “People who are not performers think that the musicians they love have a big house, lots of cars and more money than they’ll ever know. The reality is that the majority of people who choose a life in the arts make a tough economic choice. They’re almost choosing voluntary poverty.”

Herc’s sister, Cindy Campbell, said that her brother sought treatment at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx in October for kidney stones. As part of the procedure, a stent was temporarily inserted to alleviate the pressure. She said that Herc had to reschedule several appointments to remove the stent due to bad weather and not feeling well. She said the last time he spoke with the hospital, a little over a week ago, he was told that he needed to place a deposit.

“He told me he asked them to give him a figure,” she said. “But nobody has given him any solid information.”

Steven Clark, a spokesman for the hospital, said that privacy rules prevented him from commenting on the specific case. He said that, in general, the hospital would not refuse an uninsured patient in the emergency room, and that follow-up procedures would also be performed.

“But if a patient doesn’t show up, or repeatedly misses appointments, that changes the game,” he said. “They can’t dictate their care.”

A medical professional who often works with uninsured patients at St. Barnabas and other Bronx hospitals said that in those cases, the hospital might ask for a deposit and set up a reduced-fee schedule to ensure that the patient showed up for treatment.

Fans, promoters and D.J.’s have rallied to Herc’s side, vowing to raise funds to help him pay his bills. In the meantime, Ms. Campbell said, her brother was at home and taking painkillers to alleviate the discomfort.

The larger issue, she said, was how Herc’s generation of graying rappers and D.J.’s would cope with the medical issues bound to come their way. Just as she and her brother rallied to save the Bronx building where her brother’s famed parties gave birth to hip-hop, she saw this latest trial as a way of being of service to the larger community.

“There isn’t any type of medical program for these artists,” she said. “Maybe it takes a visible person like Herc for people to pay attention. Maybe we can help set something up. My brother and I were trailblazers. We tried to save the building. Now we’re going to advocate for plenty of other artists and have a program to assist them.”

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13 Responses to “New York Times Update on Kool Herc”


  • Comment from yoyo

    Good!

    AND can you please STOP the autoplay of videos? It’s MAD annoying when I already listen to music… and it gets heavy too since it autostreams videos..

  • Comment from Nika Kramer

    I’m with you! We should really work on building up a foundation that helps our artists with hospital bills and stuff! Let’s really think about that.
    PEace
    Nika

  • Comment from Richard DJ FUZE MacRae

    I fully agree a fund for helping the legends. Thing is who would run it as there so many shady people out there.

    Maybe the Zulu Nation should be incharge of such a thing.

  • Comment from CFGodwell

    This is the best news I received in a few weeks. God bless that brotha and all who donated already. Premo, you the man.

  • Comment from Lisa

    A great example of a Foundation that is helping R&B artist with health costs, foreclosures, etc. is the R&B Foundation. Maybe Kool Herc and pioneers that want to do something can start there and see how they’re doing it. http://www.rhythm-n-blues.org/

  • Comment from Vindetta

    How about since you are involved in one of the most lucrative businesses in the world you invest a bit in your future and get yourself some insurance and stop relying on the charity of others… Do more shows and make some music. Maybe get a job with some of your connections and learn to invest in yourself.

  • Comment from Traestar

    Contrary to the comments above,the autostreaming doesn’t bother me! I pause it, thats all! If anyone knows how to contact Kool Herc or anybody related, please forward these sites to him:

    http://www.empireblue.com/home.html
    http://www.uhc.com/
    I do not know if they have already looked at possible insurance or if he already has insurance, but I hope this helps!

    Thank you~~

  • Comment from Traestar

    On those sites, I recommend to find a quote from the surrounding area and check their rates

  • Comment from Statik

    That is annoying. Y’all can turn the autoplay off in the livestream code. Otherwise great blog. Wordup.

  • hope it all works out

  • Comment from Confidence

    lucky he don’t live in MA, it’s required by law. secondly there is plenty of ind. insurance that someone can get. why can’t he get down with that. i know this happened a while back to the dude from the gravediggas but it seems like most people have something in place to help with this issue.

    i’m glad he’s doing better though, that’s the overall issue right now.

    and yeah, disable that stupid video in the beg. i don’t want to listen to susan sarandon talking about milk when i’m listening to a premo track

  • WE, THE PHILDELPHIA PA AREA NEED AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF KOOL HERC TO ATTEND A BENEFIT JAM SCHEDULED TO GO DOWN THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH @ THE ROTUNDA 4014 WALNUT STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA. PLEASE CONTACT MYSELF, SABRINA “LACE ONE” MAGOBET AT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WITH VERIFIABLE REFERENCES:

    Sabrina Magobet
    BreakThru215 Events & Promotions, Owner
    LeahNicole Media Productions, Head of Public Relations
    [email protected]
    (267) 265-9493

  • Much respect goes out to the legendary DJ kool Herc.

    We are NOW accepting submissions for the next Air Play DJ competition on Aug 31st in NYC.

    Dj’s –Send your mix to [email protected] or use soundcloud drop box: http://soundcloud.com/airplaydjchallenge/dropbox


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