WORLD
Michelle Obama releases hip hop album against children obesity
15 August, 2013
First lady Michelle Obama’s next healthy eating campaign seeks to motivate kids to eat their vegetables is missing the music industry A-listers often seen with the first family.
Her Let’s Move! program has partnered with names like Dr. Oz, Jordin Sparks, and Doug E. Fresh on 19 songs directed at children and teens at risk for obesity, but is curiously missing the likes of Common, Jay Z, P Diddy and others that have spent time at the White House.
Some
of the artists featured on the album include Doug E. Fresh, Travis Barker and Monifah, as well as one of the New York Knicks.
The surprising lack of star power paved the way for Knicks Guard Iman Shumpert to spit a few lines on one of the songs, according to the New York Post. A cameo is also made by DMC, of the duo Run DMC, but that's where the notoriety ends.
The group also plans to produce ten music videos from its album Songs for a Healthier America--which have titles like U R What You Eat and Veggie Luv. The album is due out September 2013.
Singers such as Ashanti and Jordin Sparks make appearances, as well as Dr. Oz - yes, he's rapping, or at least trying to - but one can't help wonder if Jay Z sent the call about this project straight to voice mail.
This move is yet another in the first lady’s campaign against childhood obesity, a condition that affects African American children disproportionately to whites.
It is estimated that 50 percent of African American youths are obese.
‘I think hip-hop in particular – so many kids love hip-hop. It's such a core part of our culture,’ Let's Move! Executive Director and White House assistant chef Sam Kass told U.S. News. ‘And particularly in the African-American community and the Latino community which is being disproportionately affected by those health issues.’
The White House’s program was first inspired by the efforts of Hip Hop Public Health, which began in 2005.
Then, this past June, the first video from the collaboration was released. Called ‘Everybody,’ the song features the music stylings of Jordin Sparks, Doug E. Fresh, and others, along with cameos in the video from Dr. Oz and Michelle Obama herself.
In her appearance, Obama recalls the first days of her Let’s Move program when people wondered if they could really make a difference in childhood obesity. Now, as the group prepares to release what is likely to be its most visible campaign yet, FLOTUS may be about to find out.
Once the videos are complete, Obama and her collaborators intend to distribute them to schools first in New York City and then in Washington, DC, San Antonio, and Philadelphia with the hope they'll be played during recess or between periods.
For his part, Kass believes Songs for a Healthier America is going to be a winner, thanks in no small part to the way they’ve chosen to reach out.
‘Cultural leaders and visionaries in our country can give these messages to kids in a way that's not preachy,’ he said. ‘Kids are going to be dancing and listening to the music.’

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