This week is National Prevention Week in the US, an annual event run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To kick off events and help promote awareness, an anti-drug PSAs from the 1980s has just been re-premiered over on Ambrosia for Heads.
While drugs have commonly been a well-known and used theme in hip hop lyrics, these PSAs show a different side to the genre – one where drugs aren’t a blindly accepted part of the culture, and one where rappers encourage kids to stay in school and work hard.
The PSA comes from the legendary Run DMC, who, at the time of this video, were on the brink of releasing their third album Raising Hell. As a group probably more aware than most of the gangs, violence, drugs and in particular, the crack epidemic tearing through the streets – both in their local neighbourhood of Queens, New York and elsewhere, the trio encourage fans to go to school, to not use drugs or associate with gangs. It might be hard for some kids to avoid gangs and street problems completely, but that doesn’t mean they need to get involved – they could play basketball, stick their heads in the books, or even rap. “Wanna be like us three? We’re Run DMC! It’s not that hard, it’s very easy. Just go to school, don’t be a fool, don’t mess with drugs or thugs and you’ll be cool. Word.”
We’ll bring more later this week about National Prevention Week.