Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) leverages the powerful trifecta of music, art, and science to increase health literacy, inspire positive behavior change, and promote health equity.  The non-profit was founded in 2014 by Dr. Olajide Williams and music artist Doug E. Fresh.  Dr. Williams is a neurologist and tenured professor at Columbia University.  Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Olajide Williams was born prematurely in his mother’s car in 1969.  His premature birth resulted in him having many health issues.  He spent the first year of his life in the hospital on a breathing machine. The breathing issues continued for years and resulted in frequent hospitalizations. 

Williams was enrolled in a boarding school in England in 1978.  His time at the school was difficult, as he struggled to find his place in the new environment due to his health challenges and his race.  Williams discovered that he felt most comfortable when in the company of medical staff at his school’s clinic.  Williams later returned to Nigeria where he completed medical school.  As a medical student, he was troubled by seeing many children dying from preventable conditions such as tetanus and other diseases that result from consuming contaminated drinking water. These concerns began to spark his interest in public health. 

After graduating in 1994, he moved to the United States and began studies in neurology at Columbia University, Irving Medical Center.  While working in the U.S. he discovered the same public health challenges that he experienced in Nigeria; that patients of color and patients impacted by poverty were disproportionately impacted by diseases that were preventable.  After completing his training in neurology, he obtained a master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University in 2004.  His life experiences and educational training in medicine and public health are now being harnessed to benefit communities of color through HHPH. 

HHPH collaborates with artists, creatives, and public health experts that are socially conscious to create culturally relevant multimedia ”edutainment” resources such as videos, cartoons, and comics. HHPH’s cofounder, rapper, Doug E. Fresh has assembled a diverse artist advisory board to support the organization’s efforts.  HHPH has created over 200 resources, which are available free online at: and cover topics including health literacy, nutrition literacy, physical literacy, mental health and wellness.  The resources are organized by grade level making easy for schools or community organizations to select content appropriate for their audiences.  

HHPH’s approach is powerful, in that it effectively addresses the “inverse prevention law”.  This term was coined by Julian Tudor Hart.  It means that in systems where health is treated as a commodity influenced by various market forces, those who are economically disadvantaged become those most at risk for poor health outcomes and also are the least likely to receive preventative health interventions. HHPH’s goal is to engage communities impacted by the inverse prevention law by providing information and resources that are culturally responsive and centered on the science of human attention.  With so many things competing for our individual time and attention, it is critical that public health approaches are targeted and strategic to maximize engagement.  HHPH uses a Multisensory Multilevel Health Education Model (MMHEM) to engage its audiences. This approach encompasses the use of art, culture, and science. The organization’s vision is that “Youth and families around the globe are living with the knowledge and skills to make healthier choices, inspire health behavior change and achieve health equity in communities of color.  To learn more about Hip Hop Public Health, visit there website:

Another installment of melanated mail has been delivered. Ponder, reflect and pass it on.