Hip-Hop Public Health

As a fan of classic hip-hop, and someone who was actually listening to Run DMC in real time (yes, I was old enough to purchase my own music in the early 80’s) you can guess how excited I was to be present at the #SHAPETampa keynote delivered by Darryl McDaniels. His story is powerful and the journey he has taken since those ground-breaking hip-hop days is phenomenal. Among the many roles that he plays in transforming the lives of others is his work as a “Masters of Culture,” for with Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH), a national ambassador network of educators, entertainers, and health professionals promoting health equity and using music to encourage healthy lifestyles in children and their families. Read more about the work of HHPH and how YOU can become involved in this weeks #slowchathealth blog post.

Team sports are great and all, but have you tried #BreakinItDown?

Team sports are an excellent way to get kids active. It teaches them teamwork, time management, discipline and it gets their blood pumping.

However, let’s face it, not every child is motivated by team sports, and solo activities such as dance could enhance health-related fitness skills such as cardiorespiratory fitness and flexibility. There is also the benefit of enhancing one’s skill-related fitness including coordination, balance and agility. Dance can equip young people with skills beyond fitness that can serve them a lifetime – leadership, memory, control, interdependence and more.

Yet, it’s not very common that we see elements of dance curricula incorporated into our school’s physical education programs. When a dance program exists, it’s usually rolled out as a stand alone after-school activity with special attention given to more niche types of dance. For instance, ballet is beautiful but it may not appeal to everyone.

With hip-hop being a leading genre in pop music (surpassing Rock music as the most dominant genre in the United States) it has the potential to connect with students all across the nation  in ways that far exceed simply listening to music – it can even get them moving! Too often, hip-hop is stereotyped and gets a bad rep. However, when you dig deep into the genre and its roots, it’s a story of resilience, metamorphosis and rising up to the social issues we face in our communities.  

At Hip Hop Public Health, we’re big fans of remixing our approach to healthy living. For many of us, music and dance have been a lifeline to positive transformation and through hip-hop music, we seek to promote health equity among youth.

After an iterative cycle of program evaluation, academic research and resource refinement, we’ve developed an innovative array of multimedia tools designed to improve health literacy among youth inspired by hip-hop culture. Best of all, they are performed by artists your kids likely already enjoy, and we’ve got you covered on the classics too! Featured artists include icons such as Doug E. Fresh, Ariana Grande, Chuck D., Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, Darryl DMC McDaniels, and more.

Ready to join the movement? We’re always looking to connect with health and socially conscious educators, artists and thought-leaders who seek to inspire a healthier generation. As a Hip Hop Public Health MC, you get access to all of our entertaining, educational resources. You can also search for any of our cartoons, music or videos using a variety of criteria such as grade level and content area, or sort through them by the National Health and Physical Education Learning Standards and the Healthy Out of School Time (HOST) Standards. Become a Hip Hop Public Health MC  today and network with an innovative community transforming the lives of youth around the world.

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