Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Benefit For Ras-Cue :: Health Care For Hip-Hop


When adversity strikes, you often see the best of your community coming out.

My man Frank “Ras-Cue” Quattlebaum has been holding down the Bay Area hip-hop scene for over 15 years now, one of the most generous, caring individuals you could ever meet.

Two years ago, he was admitted to the hospital for congestive heart failure. The doctors told him that he was close to kidney failure as well. Since that time, he has changed his lifestyle dramatically. “These diseases are affected by what you’re doing to your life,” he says. “I was affected by high blood pressure.”

His heart is healthy now. But his kidneys are slowly failing him again.

Ras Cue is dealing with it the only way he can. He’s on intensive dialysis treatment at least 3 times a week. He is now on a kidney transplant list.

He has learned that the transplant list could take 5 to 7 years to get around to him.

His part-time work and Medi-Cal cover his dialysis costs, but they’re not making a dent in the bills for the tests he had to undergo. He has also learned that even if he is able to get a transplant–which won’t be covered entirely by Medi-Cal–he may be paying up to $2000/month in medication afterwards.

When artists get sick, there is rarely a safety net for them. When they get really sick, they rely on their community to be their safety net. Hip-hop has been this and will continue to be this. But it’s why many of us get hardcore when we talk about health care. We take it personal.

This is not meant to be a dis, but if all of my fam wearing Dilla tees now had been pushing health care for artists–hell, health care for all–back then, well who knows what this world might sound like now…

For Ras Cue’s part, he has become an activist for awareness around organ donations. “When they ask you on your driver’s license about donating your organs, think about it. You could be saving someone’s life,” he says.

The National Kidney Foundation will be part of this benefit and that’s huge. Ras Cue says, “This is about bringing awareness to our community. This is much bigger than me.”

If you’re in the Bay, come to the benefit. You can find more info at the Urban Umpires website. If you can’t make it, try to send what you can to:

590 Bowden Way #1
Oakland, CA 94610

Stand up for one of our own. And then stand up for all of us.

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