MIAMI BEACH — Hip-hop artist Trina headlined an AIDS awareness event at one of South Beach's most infamous party venues, Club B.E.D., last weekend.
The club was the Saturday night destination for celebrities, locals and up-and-coming artists who attended the First Annual Blackout.
The Aug. 29 event, which also sought to increase black unity, was hosted by Karen "K.D." Douglas, CEO of Get It Girl Productions, and assistant to the Miami-based platinum recording artist also known as Katrina "Trina" Taylor.
Trina, who served as the event's co-host, said she was honored to be a part of an event to help with such a "meaningful cause," and expressed the importance of getting tested.
"I actually speak to kids [and adults] about all sexually transmitted diseases," Trina told the South Florida Times.
"They need to understand that it's not just about AIDS, it's about STDs in general and they need to be aware."
Asked what her message is to young women who are pressured to have sex, even sometimes without a condom, Trina adamantly responded, "No, no, no, no, no. Honestly, it's not worth risking yourself for. All it takes is one time."
Trina will drop her fourth album, AMAZIN, on Sept. 22, an album she hopes will let her fans know that she is starting a new chapter in her life, and feels more creative than ever.
"You can expect a brand new Trina," she excitedly told the South Florida Times. "I'm going to bring out my alter ego this album. Her name is Victoria B., and she's 'Amazin'. She's fierce. She does all the things Trina is afraid of doing! I believe every woman has an alter ego that comes out from time to time."
K.D., who was also celebrating her 30th birthday that evening, came up with the "Blackout" theme and asked her attendees to wear all black, hoping it would serve as a symbol of unity and support within the black community.
"I wanted a color choice that would be bold, so black was basically was the best," K.D. said.
Of her reasons behind raising awareness of HIV and AIDS, K.D. said, "I myself lost a friend due to this deadly disease, and with the theme; we promoted 'the blackout,' meaning to wipe out/blackout HIV/AIDS in the community."
Club B.E.D. was one of the only venues willing to service the event. Other outlets told K.D. that crowds might shy away because of the message, K.D. said.
"B.E.D.'s promoter, Phil Cardona, wasn't worried about that, and put forth his best efforts to allow it to take place," she said. "He even encouraged Club B.E.D. to donate a portion of the proceeds to AIDS awareness organizations."
K.D. told the South Florida Times that the event had a strong visual message, largely due to the fact that she asked all party attendees to wear custom-made red ribbons atop their black attire.
She also said that throughout the night, slides were shown on the projector screens with facts about the disease, and gifts bags were given out with condoms, pamphlets and helpful information, all provided by LIFEBEAT.ORG, an organization that mobilizes the talents and resources of the music industry to raise awareness and provide support to the AIDS community, according to its Web site.
"I usually celebrate my birthday at some club and I can never really enjoy myself, so this year I wanted to put something together that would be more meaningful by actually giving something to the back to my community," K.D. said "People are so scared to talk about it, but not talking about it isn't going to make it go away. I'm just one person, but if I can draw a few well-known names together that actually have a voice, maybe we can get a few people to listen."
The Blackout did just that.
K.D. not only reached a mass audience of over 200 people, she also brought out Trina and R&B recording artist Monifah.
K.D. told The South Florida Times that she met the singer at an event earlier this year and, after discussing the Blackout theme, Monifah immediately jumped on board.
"In 1995 she lost her brother to HIV/AIDS," said K.D. "She's down for the cause and anything to help get the message across."
As for the future, K.D. and Trina both have projects in the works. They will continue working as entrepreneurs to further promote Trina's company, DP Entertainment!
"My first artist is a girl trio group called Pretty Money," Trina said. "[It's comprised of] two 'raptresses' and one singer.
I think they are fresh and a new wave for the hip-hop/r&b genre."
While assisting Trina with her endeavors, K.D. said she will continue advocating for safe sex and has already begun working on next year's Blackout event.
She hopes that as the years progress, the event will create a bigger buzz in South Florida.
"I may do it differently and have an earlier event with a dinner portion where we can have guest speakers that can speak on actually living with the disease," K.D. said. "I also hope to get more artists involved so that we can donate to some of the programs/organizations in the community fighting to raise [AIDS] awareness and bring the numbers down."
Photo: Rapper Trina, left, K.D., center, and Monifah, right, attend the First Annual Blackout on Aug. 29 at Club B.E.D. in South Beach.