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experience love at first sight on their way to an AIDS support group. Bottom, Adam Pascal as Roger and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Mimi re-create the death scene from Puccini’s La Bohème—except that this time the disease is not tuberculosis, but AIDS.

Easy-E (Eric Wright) of the group N.W.A. (Niggaz with Attitude) became the first high-profile rap musician to die of an AIDS-related illness in March 1995, shattering gangsta rap’s traditional stereotypes of hyper-masculinity and sexual power. Rap artists banded together for their first major AIDS benefit, Urban Aid 4 Lifebeat, which took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden on October 5, 1995. Various rap artists have promoted sexual responsibility, notably the female duo Salt-N-Peppa in a spoken AIDS-info track on their disc Very Necessary.