St. John’s Antigua- Barbadian artist Rupert “Rupee” Clarke has weighed in on HIV, AIDS and his involvement in HIV & AIDS awareness.
Clarke explained in an interview that the loss of his parents to AIDS has been the driving force to his committed involvement towards informing persons about the virus and the importance of practising safe sex.
“It is something I hold very close to my heart (and) something that I’m absolutely proud to be doing, (it’s) a big part of my mission,” he said.
Clarke went from being a spokesman on the issue in Barbados to becoming involved in global organisations whose core purpose involves building awareness about the disease and the preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection.
“I work with the UN and various AIDS committees and councils across the globe because initially that experience was a very devastating and negative one but I used that, (turned) it around, started to incorporate that in my music, into the message,” Clarke said.
Performing at last weekend’s Pre-Carnival fete “Leggz”, the artist further said that although sex is a beautiful thing which should not be scorned or considered taboo, it should be practised “carefully and respectfully” especially during this popular time of year when persons tend to get ahead of themselves after indulging in a few drinks and attending a few fetes.
Speaking to OBSERVER Media about his views surrounding the decriminalisation of homosexuality, Clarke admits that before the death of his parents he considered himself homophobic, but after encountering a fan that was a homosexual and was battling the disease, his perspective changed. Although he is not particularly concerned about the lifestyle one chooses to live, Clarke said he does not support homosexual behaviour.
“Before my mother and father died I was very homophobic. … When my father died and he was in the hospital I went to his ward (and) while I was there, there was one guy in particular who was a homosexual and he was infected with the disease. He was a big fan and it turned me around. It made me mature, basically overnight.
“When my father died he was up when everyone else was sleeping and he heard my father cry out for me and told me what my father’s last words were; I absolutely have no hatred or scorn for homosexuals. I’m a strong believer in God so naturally from a religious perspective I don’t support homosexuality, but whoever chooses to love that lifestyle it’s their choice,” said Clarke.
He believes that decriminalising homosexuality might have varied outcomes. He said it would be the same as if the use of marijuana were to become legalised; it would possess both good and bad results.
Meantime, the artist said he does not envision himself performing in front of large crowds in years to come. Clarke said he is in the process of establishing himself as a producer, helping other artistes build and perfect their talent.