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After giving the very best of themselves to the world, some of Hip-Hop’s most notable MCs have died seemingly premature deaths. Despite the appearance of success and the global acclaim for which rap artists are celebrated, their lives are often a grueling 24 hours cycle of touring, appearances and recording designed to optimize the commodification of their bodies. This continuous cycle of production is often coupled with indulgences that are often in direct opposition to the positive health of an artist and an absence of health care. The truncated lifespan of many rap artists have experienced may be contextualized within institutional racism and be representative of negative health outcomes for Black men and women throughout American society. What obligation do the institutions that extract the creativity and labor of Black bodies have to replenish and ensure they are healthy and properly maintained?
In this #BHeard Town Hall, we examine the health and mental health of rap artists and see how improving their health outcomes can become a model for all.
Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado (He/Him)
Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado was the first person of color to represent upstate New York in Congress. While there, he focused on improving the lives of New Yorkers, working with local, state, and federal partners — regardless of party — to get results. From improving access to quality, affordable health care, to fighting for universal Pre-K, to serving our nation’s veterans, to protecting our small businesses and family farms. Before serving as Lieutenant Governor, Delgado enjoyed a career in the music industry focused on empowering young people through hip hop; worked as an attorney focusing on complex commercial litigation, while dedicating significant time to pro bono work in connection with criminal justice reform; and served in the U.S. House representing New York’s 19th Congressional District. It’s because of these diverse professional and personal experiences that Delgado finds common ground with people from all walks of life.
Nicole Duncan-Smith (She/Her)
Nicole Duncan-Smith is an author, reverend and writer and journalist. Over her career, she has worked as an editor and/or writer for the following publications:AtlantaBlackStar.com, OprahDaily.com theGrio.com, BET.com, AllHipHop.com, Rap Pages, Vibe Magazine, The Source, The Source.com.
Dr. Olajide Williams (He/Him)
Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, Neurologist
Olajide Williams, MD, MS is the Vice Dean of Community Health at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, an attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and a clinical neurologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Williams is a world-renowned leader in stroke disparities and community-based behavioral intervention research. He is addressing healthcare disparities and promoting diversity and inclusion in academic medicine. Dr. Williams is co-director of the Columbia Center for Community Health, where he leads the Community Health Worker Stroke Prevention and the Tailored Approaches to Stroke Health Education Research programs.
Follow on Instagram: @hhphorg
Keith Nelson Jr. (He/Him)
Senior Editor, Men’s Health
Keith Nelson is a writer by fate and journalist by passion, who has connected dots to form the bigger picture for Men’s Health, leading the company’s first ever venture into Hip-Hop Health, including a six-artist cover spread celebrating Hip Hop 50, panel series exploring Hip-Hop’s connection to Black men’s health journeys in America, and more. He’s also written for Vibe Magazine, REVOLT TV, Complex, Grammys.com, Red Bull, Okayplayer, and Mic, to name a few.
Follow on X: @jusaire INSTAGRAM: @keithnelsonjr
Styles P (He/Him)
Styles P, a member of The LOX, grew up on the streets of Yonkers, NY, rapping alongside Jadakiss and Sheek Louch. Whether a part of the triple threat The LOX, or as a solo artist, Styles’ razor sharp slick talk has created a cult-like following by his countless fans within the hip-hop and “gangsta” rap With the label, The LOX quickly started collaborating on hits with Diddy, the Notorious BIG, Mary J Blige, and Mariah Carey which gave them instant notoriety and status within the hip-hop and mainstream charts.community. Styles P and Jadakiss are co-owners of Juices for Life juice bar, with 2 locations in New York, and one in Yonkers. They are fully committed to the health and wellness movement. Styles, who has been juicing for the last decade, found that supplementing his diet with juicing brought balance to his fast-paced rapper lifestyle. This vision continues to fuel his success.
Follow on Instagram: @StylesP
Councilman Chi Osse (He/Him)
Council Member, District 36
Chi Ossé is the Council Member for New York City’s 36th District, representing Bedford-Stuyvesant and North Crown Heights. He entered politics as an organizer and prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement. At 23 years old, Ossé was elected in 2021 as the youngest member of this Council and its only member hailing from Gen-Z. Ossé is the co-Chair of the Brooklyn Delegation and the Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations. He is also the son of the legendary Reggie Osse a.k.a ‘Combat Jack’, a respected entertainment attorney and podcast pioneer in the Hip-Hop community.
Follow on Intagram: @ChiOsse, @CMChiOsse, X: @OsseChi, @CmChiOsse, TikTok: @Chi4NYC
DJ Enuff (He/Him)
DJ & Radio Personality
DJ Enuff is a fixture in both the clubs and on the radio. Music fans know him as El Presidente, Big Spanish, and “The Leader” of the Heavy Hitters DJ Crew. HOT 97! & 107.5 WBLS. When he’s not on-air, Enuff is busy giving the DJ’s leadership as HOT 97’s mix show coordinator. DJ Enuff was raised in the lower east side, but spent most of his adolescence in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He attended Kingsborough Community College and majored in Communications and Broadcasting. Enuff’s popularity within the club and private party scenes led to a leap of fate when he caught the attention of the late legend, Notorious BIG, who invited him to become his road DJ.
Follow on Instgram: @djenuff
Bob Celestin (He/Him)
A graduate of Yale University and Columbia School of Law and has practiced entertainment law in New York City for over 25 years. Bob was responsible for the negotiation and signing of Uptown’s multi-platinum recording artists and producers such as “Mary J. Blige,” “Jodeci,” “Guy,” “Heavy D and the Boyz” and “Al B. Sure” and worked alongside Sean “P-Diddy” Combs. Celestin represented the late XXXTentacion and now manages his estate. His office also represented Pop Smoke and now represents “Desiigner” and “6IX9INE.
Follow on Instagram: @bobcelestin
On Point NYC