The Hip Hop world was devastated to learn that its fabled founder DJ Kool Herc was hospitalized with kidney stones. Although Herc is now out of the hospital with the necessary surgery completed, he still faces the financial ramifications of his operation. Now, his family and friends are hoping that his current turmoil will show people the troubles that many of the founding Hip Hop artists face in dealing with health care.
“This is just a disgrace that Kool Herc has to negotiate over the details of his health care,” said former Def Jam Records executive Bill Adler. “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.” (NYTimes.com)
Kool Herc’s sister Cindy Campbell also revealed some further details about his ordeal. As DX reported earlier today, Herc has been suffering from kidney stones since October. She said that Herc had missed a number of appointments to remove a temporary stent due to inclement weather and illness. Although a hospital rep confirmed with the New York Times that hospitals sometimes ask patients to place a deposit on a scheduled appointment in order to ensure that they come to their meeting, Campbell says that the hospital has yet to give her brother any figures.
“[Herc] told me he asked [the hospital] to give him a figure,” she said. “But nobody has given him any solid information.” (NYTimes.com)
At the end of the day, Campbell says that the most important issue at hand is that many Hip Hop legends like Herc lack the funds to pay for health care.
“There isn’t any type of medical program for these artists. 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 [in which Hip Hop was founded, 1520 Sedgewick Avenue]. Now we’re going to advocate for plenty of other artists and have a program to assist them.” (NYTimes.com)