Kicking off Hip Hop History Month, the award-winning non-profit Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) held its annual Remixing Public Health Gala November 1 at Capitale in downtown Manhattan. Before a diverse crowd of supporters including Ja Rule, Styles P, and BET CEO Scott Mills, the evening featured a mesmerizing hip-hop medley performance with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Chuck D, Ashanti, and co-founder Doug E. Fresh, who also hosted the gathering with journalist and media personality Janell Snowden. In addition to raising critical funding for its important donor-driven cause, the event honored several corporate and creative champions of health and wellness, notably Radio Hall of Fame Inductee and syndicated host Angela Yee for her efforts to provide healthier dining options in urban “food deserts” through her ownership and operation of Brooklyn eateries like Juices for Life BK.
Doug E. Fresh and Dr. Olajide Williams, Professor of Neurology and Vice Dean of Community Health at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, co-founded Hip Hop Public Health to teach health literacy in order to improve health equity and remedy disparities in historically underserved communities. Together, they work tirelessly to amplify the medical fact that music can help heal the mind and body.
Since its formation in 2006, HHPH has provided research-based, hip-hop infused learning resources nationally to grades K-12 and worked with Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and other non-profits to create culturally-inclusive health campaigns. The organization has taken important health information and put it into songs recorded by popular multi-generational artists, making it easily digestible and universally accessible. Essentially, HHPH uses music for health education, and its resources have proven to save lives.
Among its many notable achievements, HHPH received the Cannes Lions UN Health Grand Prix for Good Award in 2022 for its “Lil Sugar” campaign (voiced by HHPH Artist Advisory Board Member Darryl “DMC” McDaniels), which warned of the potentially harmful effects of sugar. Additionally, former First Lady Michelle Obama hand-picked HHPH to produce the soundtrack for her “Let’s Move” campaign, aimed at reducing childhood obesity.
Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, HHPH CEO Lori Rose Benson took the stage to announce HHPH’s new Health MCs Ambassador Program, which seeks to provide 100,000 educators over five years with the tools to bring fun and effective health education to young people in a range of learning environments – in-school, out-of-school, community settings, summer camps and more. HHPH supports Health MCs with free, easy-to-use, adaptable resources that engage and inspire young people to be changemakers in their communities.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JOHNNY NUNEZ