Grammy-winning rapper and Real Health cover boy Common invites aspiring lyricists to help him take the fight against AIDS to the stage through his “A Minute" Contest, which asks participants between the ages of 13 and 25 to write their own original lyrics or poetry stressing the importance of HIV testing. The winning entry will be performed by Common in an ad on MTV Networks. The deadline for submission is March 27.

The contest is sponsored by MTV Networks, Kaiser Family Foundation, YouthSpeaks and the Common Ground Foundation—a youth-based HIV education and self-empowerment initiative launched in October 2007. Through this contest, Common hopes to encourage young people to get tested and learn their HIV status. After all, an HIV test only takes “a minute.”

The contest will enable students across the nation to educate themselves about HIV transmission and prevention—a key component of the Common Ground Foundation’s work—and, in turn, use that knowledge to benefit others when the commercial airs.

“Common is committed to helping youth understand the importance of health and wellness,” says Common Ground Foundation Executive Director Jodie Blum. “ We knew that the promotion of having Common perform the winning piece would reach thousands of kids and most importantly have them sit down and think about this important issue. We [Common Ground Foundation] hope that this contest will empower the young community to get tested and tell their friends it is the right thing to do.”

The winning entry of “A Minute” will be chosen based on originality, style and effective integration of inspirational HIV messaging. To learn more about the contest and how you can get creatively conscious, visit