Hip-hop, the secret remedy for a healthier nation.

Shawn Ullman

CEO, Feel Rich, Inc.

I’m going to let you in on one of the biggest secrets in the wellness sector. Hip-hop is getting the country healthy and saving lives. Rappers and influencers who were once unwelcomed by or too risky to work with brands are now launching their own products and becoming the spokespeople for some of the most influential wellness brands in the country.

Hip-hop has become the number-one music genre in the world and rappers are now messengers of hope and aspiration. From rapping about cars, jewels and extravagant lifestyles, these influencers are now using their art and platforms to send the message that health and wellness is the new luxury item to attain.

HEALTHY IS THE NEW GANGSTER.

The timing for this couldn’t be more appropriate. People of color remain the most visible vanguards of hip-hop; they also face greater health risks than people in other ethnic groups. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, African Americans are 30 percent more likely than white people to die of heart disease and twice as likely to die of diabetes. Low wages, housing issues and limited access to nutritious food disproportionately affect communities of color, too.

But change is happening. And brands and marketers need to be paying attention or risk getting left behind. From WW (formerly Weight Watchers) signing DJ Khaled as brand ambassador to Styles P opening juice bars in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the message is being sent that healthy is the new gangster. It’s not just in the products but also the messaging. For example, award-winning producer and artist stic.man from rap group dead prez recently released the first-ever “fit hop” album, The Workout, which went to #1 on iTunes in the independent genre.

As green juice replaces Hennessy, we are at a moment in time when brands need to listen and pay attention to hip-hop. At Feel Rich, the company I started with my co-founder, Quincy Jones III, we are helping to launch movements and push the culture forward by aligning brands with authentic messaging and influencers who can help keep brands relevant and ahead of the curve. From the work we see on a daily basis, the message is clear: hip-hop is getting the country healthy. To authentically connect with this rising healthy hip-hop community, you must lean into hip-hop and the culture it promotes to win the hearts and minds of its consumers.