Dr. Olajide Williams is a neurologist and a hip hop fan. Doug E. Fresh is an critically-acclaimed rapper and an avid health nut. When the two paired up to produce, “Stroke Ain’t No Joke,” a song aimed at educating young people about the warning signs of a stroke, in 2005, it was a match made in heaven. “I would be working all day here, then head to Doug’s studio and work all night until we came up with the song,” says Williams. “It’s still my favorite song to this day.”
The song’s release led to the founding of Hip Hop Public Health, a campaign that uses animation, songs and live performances to educate low-income children and families about healthy living. Since 2008, the group has performed in more than 150 schools, teaching an estimated 44,000 kids about strokes, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Hip Hop Public Health recently launched an ambassador program, placing their materials online and encouraging educators and artists from around the world to use its model.