September 6, 2018, marked the start of The Source and NorthStar Charities’ 5th Annual SOURCE360 Conference and Festival.  For four days, The Source took over downtown Brooklyn for an epic celebration of Hip-Hop and culture. One of the most informative sessions during our 2018 Speaker Series was the Health and Wellness Panel. It not only inspired but educated and moved our attendees in ways that could change their lives. As health epidemics such as heart disease, obesity, and depression attack our community at rapid rates, The Source and NorthStar Charities realize that we must tackle these illnesses head-on with a community call to action.

Engaging the audience and the larger community, our panelists included rapper Philadelphia Freeway, Dr. Lewanza Harris (Family Medicine Physician), Dr. Arabia Mollette (Emergency Physician), Gessie Thompson (Fertility Coach/Author), Jeffrey Noble (Master Practitioner/ Trainer NLP) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Sonya Davie. Each are experts in their respective fields and have committed their lives the service of our community’s mind, body and spirit. By using this space for an open-ended community discussion, many valuable lessons were learned.

FIRST LESSON LEARNED:

The Hip-Hop community (specifically Black and Brown people) must diversify its health network from a 360-degree perspective that covers the approach to healthcare from all angles. Collectively, our panelists stressed the importance of preventative care. Having a “wait until you are sick to see the doctor” mindset was strongly discouraged.

Dr. Mollette recalled her years studying in Cuba to become a doctor. There she said there was no separation between holistic medicine, alternative healing like NLP and traditional medicine. She learned that all of this works and hand-in-hand to be in tip-top shape. Cuba, the little communist country in the West Indies, enjoys a national health system that has been touted as one of the best in the world. An indicator of their superior approach to healthcare in in their infant mortality rate. According to 2015 World Bank report, infant mortality rate is competitive with countries 50 times more affluent than they are. For every 1,000 births only six baby deaths occur during labor (The global average is 42.5 per 1,000).

SECOND LESSON LEARNED:

Your healthcare network should be more than just your primary care doctor. A sound body starts with a sound mind and so the panelists asked all to consider adding in a mental health counselor to your wellness team to help you created the optimal psychological balance needed to get through life. This comes at a time when mental health is at the forefront of our collective minds in the culture. With the recent drug related deaths of artists like Lil’ Peep and Mac Miller and Kanye West’s recent very public breakdowns, therapy options have to become more normalized.

THIRD LESSON LEARNED:

Hip-Hoppers need coaches on and off the field. Most times when someone thinks about getting a coach they automatically associate it with sports and the big game. However, there is no bigger game than life. In this game of life, you need a coach to help you leap over any hurdles or obstacles that may stand in your way. Getting a health or wellness coach can assist you in incorporating lifestyle changes that will greatly benefit you.

FOURTH LESSON LEARNED:

Your body is a generator that channels energy. It receives signals, transmits signals and many times it harbors these signals in muscles, organs, nerves and in the mind.  According to Jeffrey Noble, how energy flows (or does not flows) creates disease in your energetic body even before it manifests in your physical body, thus requiring someone to come in a sweep it clean. Implementing a daily regime that includes energy work is another way to clear out those blockages, even before you see your physicians.

FIFTH LESSON LEARNED:

Everything that you eat matters. When Freeway was diagnosed with kidney disease, he had to change his life and his diet to make sure that his vessel was a strong as it possibly could be.  Greasy foods and a diet that is deficient in nutritional value breaks you down just as much as any sickness. If fact, what you eat can make you sick. Thus monitoring what goes into your body is paramount in living your best life. While Gessie Thompson opted for a more organic way of eating (giving examples of how to buy and clean foods), Dr. Mollette and Dr. Harris pushed for balance in one’s diet noting that some of the things that some people think are bad for your system actually are needed for the natural processes of the body. Mindfulness is key when shopping for foods that will heal you and if your local grocery does not offer healthy alternatives, be proactive and find programs or start a garden in your community to ensure that fresh vegetables and fruits are available in under-served communities.

From the panel we learned that you approach your health from a myriad of ways that included holistic, energetic and traditional medicines. You also have to focus on your mind and well-being to function under stressful conditions, seeking help from trained professionals. While you can go to doctors and therapists on a quarterly cycle, having a health coach to walk you through your challenges can change the game for you. Lastly what you eat inside your body and how you direct energy around your body will move you to your wellness goals. The greatest take-away came from the no-holds bar, Dr. Mollete. She said, “Don’t leave your family 10-20 years earlier because you refused to seek help.” A diverse network engaged in preventative care is the best option. No matter what insurance you have, all of these services are within reach.