Hip hop is and will always be more than a genre of music. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a presence. It’s our culture. It has defined a generation and birthed a community of leaders, trendsetters, and icons. For 49 years, this movement that began at a birthday party hosted by DJ Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell in the recreation room of an apartment building on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, NYC has been our space for joy, anger, sadness, solace, camaraderie, celebration, and we believe for healing. Hip hop is the story of us, all of us, and our lived experiences and has paved the way for the needs of the community, our community, to be seen and heard. Hip hop was born out of experiences of struggle and frustration and has become the meeting place for everyone with something to say about inequality and a desire to bring equity to the masses. Hip Hop Public Health was born out of love for the community that needed help, guidance, and support to build health equity – and a megaphone and platform for underserved communities of color.
One day over a cold-pressed juice while discussing the health issues of the local community in Harlem, NYC – like access to adequate health care and doctors who looked like their patients – our founders Dr. Olajide Williams and legendary MC Doug E. Fresh began their journey to create Hip Hop Public Health. Their mission: create memorable content wrapped in hip hop and powered by science to inspire, educate and engage people and ultimately save lives.
Hip Hop Public Health endeavored to establish a pathway to literally get people moving. Eradicating health disparity in all forms has remained the driving force for all we do. Dr. Williams and Doug E. have continued delivering positive and sustainable health behavior change through the transformative power of music, art, culture, and science. Hip hop is at the core of our pursuit to build health equity through increasing health literacy and amplifying the future leaders of both public health and hip hop.
We give thanks to hip hop pioneers like Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Cheryl “Salt” James, Easy A.D. Harris and so many more who have helped us by writing rhymes to work through our hardships, awkward moments, and move our bodies in celebration of our community.
And today, August 11th, we pay tribute to 49 years of hip hop. We feel no shame in our game as we honor the complicated grandeur of the music that shaped us. We continue our quest to change and save lives through our leadership, messaging, and resources. Public health needs hip hop and hip hop needs public health and our role as an organization is to keep building the collective so we can support the community, our community, in using hip hop to heal. So, here we go, yo! Here we go, yo! The scenario is cheers to 49 years of hip hop!
Meet the #RemixingPublicHealth Gala Special Guests
Join us on October 25th at the Harvard Club of New York City to celebrate with our special guests, Ashanti, Chuck D, Cheryl “Salt” James, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and host Doug E. Fresh — hip hop icons who have demonstrated their commitment to our mission of health equity for all!
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Hip Hop Public Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering positive health behavior change among youth and their families through the transformative power of music, art and science.
Learn more at www.hhph.org