The poster for Love, Poetry and Song event, organised by the Barbados Government Information Service.??

Lead singer of the band NexCyx, Mahalia Phillips, is urging Barbadians to ???Take A Minute’ and learn the truth about HIV and the importance of tolerance.

She was speaking recently during a visit to the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) to offer her support to Love, Poetry and Song, an event being hosted by this organisation.?? It will be staged at the Barbados Museum on Saturday, February 18, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., to raise funds and collect food items for the HIV Food Bank.??

Local artistes Adrian Green, Azman, the ladies of Honey Jam Barbados and others, will hit the stage with pieces which focus on HIV and AIDS awareness and reducing stigma.

Headliners for the night, NexCyx will perform ???Take A Minute’, a track written to highlight the importance of tolerance. Ms. Phillips stressed that being supportive, adopting open attitudes and putting yourself in the shoes of those affected, were key to addressing the impact of the virus.

"I believe, and I speak for all the guys [in the band], when I say it doesn’t even only apply to HIV… It’s not our place to judge; it’s not our place to discriminate… People [with HIV and AIDS] are human beings, with feelings and personalities…They all need love…We can be that support," she said.

According to Ms. Phillips, it was important for parents and guardians to set an example for children and is encouraging persons to "take a second and think about how you would feel [if you had HIV].?? Think about how these people feel; be compassionate," she reiterated.

The NexCyx lead singer spoke passionately about the role artistes could play in increasing awareness among their fans and the wider public.????

"I think it’s imperative, it’s really important because we have a voice that other people may not have…People say music is the universal language …So why not use the music to send a positive message? ??If you have something to say, just use the music to say it…We have a direct link with a broader mass of people," she said, adding that HIV and AIDS should matter to everybody and artistes needed to go beyond the themes of ???partying’ and ???violence’ and use their influence for good.

When asked about the role Love, Poetry and Song could play in creating greater awareness about the pandemic, Ms. Phillips revealed that the positive aspects of the artistry would carry this crucial message to those who may not be as aware as they should be about HIV and AIDS. "The event would also allow those in the know to learn something new," she added.

"Love is always positive, nothing is stronger than love in my opinion.?? Poetry and song [are] two very positive media for messages to be brought across.?? So, hopefully, with these three things combined in the event, it will be able to hit home," she underlined.

Patrons to Love, Poetry and Song are asked to bring two non-perishable food items and a small monetary donation for the HIV Food Bank.


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