Many DJs live anything but a healthy life style. Late Nights, little sleep, poor diet, alcohol consumption and drugs are all examples of things one may partake in. All these things can contribute to not only poor health but a shorter life span.
So why are so many DJs not paying attention to their health the way they should be? Lack of proper healthcare. Many of us don’t have health insurance because our employers don’t offer it to us. Even after working for a venue for years or even a commercial radio station it is far too common for DJs to be overlooked when it comes to health insurance. Sure the argument can be made that we don’t work “full time” or we are “independent contractors”, I get it, but over the years with the over saturation of DJs in the marketplace overall wages have gone down considerably and then we get a 1099 and get taxed up the ass. So even with the affordable healthcare act many just can’t afford it. I have personally lost close friends because of this.
On March 16th, 2000 we lost an amazing DJ and graffiti artist, DJ Rob One. Rob was a close friend of mine and a huge influence on me. No disrespect to DJ AM but Rob was the real mashup king. He did them before there was even a name for it. Rob died of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma which is a deadly form of Cancer. Unfortunately, Rob did not have health insurance an had to settle for a county hospital. No one can say that he would have won the battle against this horrible disease, but I don’t think no one can argue that with health insurance he would have had more resources. Cancer is such a horrible disease.
We lost our brother DJ Hideo on April 24th, 2010 to Colon Cancer. He was only 42. Hideo was a very close friend of mine and one of my biggest supporters. Not just an incredible DJ but an amazing person and like Rob a huge loss to our community. Even with a few early warning signs Hideo put off seeing the doctor because he did not have health insurance. With early detection maybe the outcome would have been much different. On the bright side there is someone out there that has made it possible for musicians and DJs to receive proper healthcare.
In Austin, Texas there is an amazing organization called H.A.A.M (Health Alliance For Austin Musicians). H.A.A.M is a non profit organization that allows eligible Austin, Texas musicians and DJs to receive the proper healthcare they need at a very affordable cost. I am a proud member of H.A.A.M and support it 100%. In fact, I would have to say that I have received better health care than I did when I was paying close to a grand a month! You can donate to H.A.A.M at http://www.myhaam.org/donate. Why aren’t there more programs like this? If there are other programs like this please let me know so we can spread the word! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will support. I ask all my fellow DJs and musicians out there to take care of your health and take advantage of what ever resources that are out there for you.
This column is dedicated to DJ Rob One, DJ Hideo and DJ Bronson. May you all rest in peace in between your DJ sets in the sky!