‘Songs for a Healthier America’ album fights childhood obesity

Chuck D and Doug E. Fresh (left to right) Photo Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images
Chuck D and Doug E. Fresh (left to right) Photo Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images

On the “A” w/Souleo

The piercing cheers of more than 500 New York City schoolkids trumpeted the kickoff event at Symphony Space for the album, Songs for a Healthier America. Hip-Hop Public Health and the Partnership for a Healthier America, chaired by first lady Michelle Obama, collaborated to produce the project, which features health conscious songs by Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, Ariana Grande, Monifah, Doug E. Fresh and more.

Fresh admits that it can be challenging to live a healthy lifestyle but his secret is to begin with a positive outlook on life.

“Spiritually I try to live right and do right by people. I do my best to exercise, eat right and keep my mind and body in the best of shape. Living in the world is not easy but if we do some or one of those things we will be OK,” he says.

Although he does not appear on the album, Chuck D has consistently used his role as a member of legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy to deliver important messages. So it only makes sense that he’d support an album that uses hip-hop to fight childhood obesity.

“Hip-hop is about words and this project is not just about the nutrition that goes in the body but also positive words,” he says. “Words can start peace or start war or help people realize things they might have overlooked. That’s when this art form is at its best.”

Hip-hop recording artist, Rah Digga knows all about the power of music to transform lives, which is why she has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to develop the NJ Dance Network, a community center empowering youth through the performing arts. The New Jersey native plans to have the center located in downtown Newark, one of the nation’s hardest hit areas when it comes to violence and poverty. While mayor and senatorial candidate Cory Booker has received praise for his efforts to improve the image of Newark by attracting new businesses to the area, Digga believes that more needs to be done to directly impact youth.

“I applaud Cory Booker for making the city look better but I feel like the things built in the city aren’t necessarily benefiting residents in Newark. It makes downtown look good but three blocks away the gang element is still so prevalent. I see more cases of girls getting murdered now,” she says. “So it will take more than luxury apartments since that’s not really fixing the infrastructure of the problem.”

To read the entire column, click here.

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