Sadly, this is a familiar story. Another American cultural legend finds himself in ill health with no health coverage. Kool DJ Herc, the creator of the breakbeat and one of the godfathers of hip hop culture has come down with a bad case of gallstone and urgently needs help paying for treatment. His sister Cindy Campbell is seeking donations through his website, so I encourage you to consider contributing.

The questions are many, including why somebody who has contributed so much to American and world culture has to find himself essentially reduced to soliciting alms, why there isn’t a foundation of some sort to help out hip hop artists fallen on hard times, why some of the multi-millionaires of the industry who indirectly owe him their careers don’t seem to have stepped in to help, but the primary one is this: why doesn’t a country that rich have a decent health care system to take care of its citizens?

I know, this seems finally to be changing with the Obama administrations landmark, if still rather limited, health care bill, but with the Republican party and their House majority outrageously working to overturn it, its future still seems a little precarious. It boggles the mind that such a bill hasn’t been passed long ago and that anyone who considers the state of health care for most people in the US would still in all seriousness want to entrust the private sector exclusively with running such a vital component of any civilized society.

Hip hop activist Kevin Powell has more on Kool Herc’s situation.