How Does Mental Health Play a Role In The Future Of Hip Hop?

February 2, 2023

Music is, of course, a powerful medium, connecting people across generations, professions, and geographic lines. It opens conversations, forges friendships, builds communities — and according to the health literacy-focused nonprofit organization Hip Hop Public Health, it has the power to create lasting, tangible change.

Dr. Olajide Williams

Dr. Olajide Williams

By fostering conversations and shedding light on what exactly happens in the brain when music is playing, the collective aims to inspire wellness and healing among young people of color in underserved communities. “One of the things that we want to do is create a consciousness around the power of music as a therapeutic foundation for mental health,” says Dr. Olajide Williams, the founder of Hip Hop Public Health and a professor of neurology at Columbia University. 

It’s hardly an easy undertaking, but Williams and his team are making huge strides in their mission to broaden health literacy around the world, using hip hop as a vessel. Through innovative public programming — including a multimedia educational curriculum for schools focused on exercise and healthy eating, as well as partnerships with educators, entertainers, and companies around the world — the organization is changing the way that today’s youth approach the concept of wellness. And this winter, during Miami’s Art Basel festival, the team even partnered with VICE’s Noisey to bring some of the hip hop industry’s biggest stars (think: DMC and Sudan Archives) together to facilitate powerful conversations about topics like mental health, racism, community organizing, and — you guessed it — music. [read more]

Source: VICE