Does HIV/AIDS Tarnish Eazy-E’s Legacy?

It’s Monday morning, a holiday for some…let’s get this week started.  Should Eazy-E be included in the discussion on HIV/AIDS? For over two decades, the answer to this question appeared to be an easy “yes”, but in a world with increasing access to information and opinions there is always gray and we continue to get away from black and white (except in the matters of race….but that is a conversation for another day).

There have always been whispers surrounding Eazy-E’s death that have gotten louder as the history of NWA is brought to the forefront, social media continues to grow, and his children get older.  Rumors have circulated that he may have been murdered and/or possibly injected with the virus. These rumors have blamed Suge Knight and even the CIA for his death. Many are skeptical of the timing of his death since it is said he passed within a month of his diagnosis and people are used to seeing or hearing about the stages of HIV as it develops into AIDS.  

On an episode of Growing Up Hip Hop, his oldest son expressed his skepticism to Master P and viewers.  He revealed many of the family questioned his cause of death. He noted his father didn’t appear to lose weight as some may associate with AIDS victims and that the doctor on his case disappeared.  While the son’s questions came off as disbelief, one of Eazy-E’s daughter discussed his death and appeared disgusted. Recently, DJ Vlad posted a tribute of Eazy-E picturing his obituary with a caption warning his followers about AIDS and advising them to get tested.  The daughter responded in a video posted to her Instagram account refuting the diagnosis and accusing DJ Vlad of disrespecting her father’s legacy. In her defense, some of her reaction is attributed to the personal relationship between DJ Vlad and the family. You can hear more of her outrage via her Instagram account.   

On the contrary,  this is a man who announced his diagnosis to the entire world.  His announcement led to HIV/AIDS awareness in the hip hop community.  Despite different counts of Eazy-E’s death, his death sparked discussions and education on HIV/AIDS.  The news of his death made mainstream media and his reconciliations and funeral service are embedded in hip hop’s history.

One must ask why conspiracy theories would take precedence over a man’s own statement regarding his health?  Whether or not Eazy-E contracted HIV by his own actions or a planned attack, does the latter make him less of an AIDS victim?  Why would acknowledging an admitted diagnosis of AIDS be considered disrespectful? While we understand the emotion involved and the concern of violating a relationship, some of the doubts speak to the negative stigma that continues to exist.  

Initially, we planned to include Eazy-E in our Black History Month tribute shirts,  but out of respect for his children, we decided against it. We hope his family and friends receive the answers they need as they continue to grieve their loved one.  

Due to the impact his diagnosis has on HIV/AIDS awareness, we still say: Thank you, Eazy-E.  Because of you, we know more.

What do you think?  Should Eazy-E’s life be a part of the discussion on HIV/AIDS awareness?

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