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Life Expectancy: Money, Health & Hip Hop by DJ Layne Luv

Hip Hop Health Picture

How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? 

In the United States, being a young & black guarantees a person born under those circumstances a significant amount of obstacle & struggle. Not only is the African American still inferior economically, the race’s environment has a high percentage of being subject to, poor diet, questionable healthcare (which means they can’t afford adequate treatment for disease), and violence (whether it be amongst each other or by the hands of law enforcement). Even in a time where the life expectance for the average human is 75, throughout time, a lower number has always been the case for the African American male. This is because the African American race has always had to survive under the most stressful conditions dating back to slavery. But my question is, why isn’t health and money for healthcare brought up more in the Hip-Hop community? How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? Is it because it doesn’t weigh in on the “cool” factors to talk about? Is it because dying or the threat thereof  has become the ultimate badge of honor? Why are we still having to do fundraisers and benefits for disease treatment and funerals? What financial plans are in place for rappers, DJ’s and B-Boys when they get sick or expire?

These are tough questions, however most of these issues could be solved with the proper funding and education around the matter of Hip-Hop and Health. We just recently lost Prodigy of Mobb Deep who battled sickle cell all his life. Sean Price of the group Heltah Skeltah passed away in his sleep in 2015. Heavy D died from a blood clot in his lung but it was later found out he did in fact have heart disease. Big Pun actually died of cardiac arrest.

I’m from Columbus Ohio, so even though this is a national publication, I want to honor an iconic rapper from my city who was special to us in the #614 and recently passed away… Sheron “Neswordz” Colbert  #RIH

Now let’s stop for a second, because I don’t want to get into the rappers that died at the hands of violence because that’s not where I’m going with this blog.

This is my point:

Hip Hop will be 44 years old this year. This means that the pioneers of Hip Hop are either senior citizens or on their way to being senior citizens. This means (God forbid) we may be losing a lot more Hip Hop icons in the “hopefully” distant future. But I’m noticing the mortality rate decreasing in age within the culture and I wanted to bring awareness to it in this blog.

One thing I loved about our last presidential administration, Big Up Obamas!, is that the Hip Hop community put them in office and President Barack and First Lady Michelle made it their business to bring awareness to healthcare and education directly to the minority in America.

How Can We Make A Healthy Lifestyle Cool In Hip Hop? 

How can we make LIVING cool in Hip Hop? How do we celebrate Life instead of Death? And most important, how do we put Financial well-being and Health together in this culture?

It definitely takes money and good decisions to be healthy. And maybe that’s why a healthy lifestyle isn’t cool to most young adults. Because Hip Hop from the beginning was all about taking the risk. Living on the edge. The new Rock N Roll. While Jay Z’s new 4:44 album is a great album to raise consciousness, the radio still bellows “Percocet, Molly Percocet” in regular rotation. Twerking videos and Drug money to the ear still resonates among adolescence. I get it! A safe lifestyle is a boring lifestyle. But yet, after the facade is lifted, and something tragic happens, all of the sudden we see that the rapper with money to the ear doesn’t really have sustainable income to treat the calamity.

Here’s this…The hardbody has always been the thing in Hip Hop, but what you don’t realize is Will Smith, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Fantasia and Ashanti live very healthy lifestyles. They don’t engage in Marijuana, Alcohol or any other recreational drugs. Rumor has it that rapper Future…lol….doesn’t drink Lean or pop pills…but he advertises it to the youth in his music. So from that standpoint, what’s being fed to the public may appear to be a cooler lifestyle, trust me, eating right and adding exercise to your lifestyle will increase your chances of living a long and productive life.

Am I the old head in the room? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I can’t put this On The Table (Pun Intended) If you are one those people that just so happens to want to pursue or are pursuing a career in Hip Hop. Please take your health seriously. Black N Milds look cool until you get lung cancer. Sleeping with Twerk video models are cool until you get HIV. Living reckless with a bunch of beefs looks cool until we have to bury you and someone has to pick up those expenses. Live for today but plan like you will live tomorrow. Put a financial plan in place so that if anything does happen, you have your family taken care of.

It’s a new day! Taking care of yourself and your family is the “New Gangsta”

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@DJLAYNELUV

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[RELATIONSHIPS] Trust Me You’ll Live: Healing a Broken Heart

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Alright, so, your heart’s been broken. There is good news and bad news. The good news is you’ll live. The bad news is, well, you’ll have to go through it. An article in Essence Magazine about Jill Scott and her inspiration for her 2015 album, “Woman,” talks about allowing your feelings to be hurt, feeling it, and healing. With that being said, in order to get over a heartbreak, you must allow yourself time to go through it, not around it. When your heart is broken, you are allowed to take as much time as you need to recover. However, if you’re wise, you innerstand that love is difficult and a journey with lessons that need learning, and methods worth discovering for growth and healing, along the way. Below are some helpful tips to adhere by when you’ve experienced a broken heart.

Tip #1: Do not go through it alone

Surround yourself with close friends, family, siblings, people who love you, and whom you are comfortable in confiding. This allows you time to vent and accept advice and/or words of encouragement. You’ll need it.

Tip #2: Cry

Release those toxins.  Tears rid the body of stressful hormones. Pass the Kleenex and get it out of your system, remembering to deep breathe, in through your nose, and out through your mouth, to release the person who hurt you.        

Tip #3: Laugh

Laughter releases endorphin’s and relieves pressure. Enjoy the fact that you have an opportunity to start anew and be refreshed.  Watch a comedy, go to a comedy show, laugh wholeheartedly, and most importantly, feel.

Personal:

I laughed today. I laughed because I actually Googled, “How to get over a heartbreak.” I laughed so hard through my tears because it felt good to be able to do this after crying myself to sleep last night. I learned something valuable in my search that you have to go through the heartbreak in order to heal from it. You cannot go around it, under it, or over it, but you have to go through it. What that means is, you’re allowed to cry, scream, laugh, heal, love again, in due time, but most of all, you’re allowed to take your time. You may take as much time as you need. I also learned that, while getting through a heartbreak, being isolated is a no no. I lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs, away from family, my sorors, my friends, and I knew that I couldn’t be alone to get through this one. The day my heart broke was the day after I learned the disturbing news that someone I’d loved and trusted was involved with someone he’d known for years. I guessed I should have seen it coming, but I ignored the warning signs because I trusted him. That day, all I could manage to say was, “thank you for telling me that.” At the time, I wasn’t upset, I talked myself to sleep to try, and self-soothe and be “strong.” The following day was rough because I felt the need to let him know how that made me feel. I proceeded with my day as normal as I possibly could, but on my lunch break, for 30 minutes, I allowed a breakdown. I cried on the phone with my mother who immediately began praying for me in the middle of me telling her how much pain I was in, physical and emotional. I could barely get out the words, all I could say was his name, and “this hurts.”  For the first couple of days when it hit me the hardest, I stayed with my mom.  She was there for me, only conversed when I’d randomly spill out how much I was hurting and sat with me quietly as I cried. She kept reminding me to breathe, coaching me to inhale, exhale, and let it out. I had been holding it in, but this one, this one gave me the shakes, had the left side of my chest tightening, my heart beating irregularly, no appetite, my sleep pattern suffered, and I felt like at any moment my body was going to give up.

Each day got better. This morning, I woke up, and smile at my puffy-eyed self in the mirror, cried in the shower, and smiled again at the puffy eyed woman staring back at me. I even laughed at myself a few times when I thought about how ridiculous I probably looked. I was grateful though to not be going through this alone. My brother, friend, and father even dropped a few gems from a man’s perspective, and my brother said,  “time, time is the ultimate healer.” The lesson here, surround yourself with family and friends. Do not isolate yourself when you’re going through a heartbreak, and laugh, find the humor.

Tip #4: Take Accountability 

The article in Essence magazine stated, “A woman looks at her own decision to date that guy, or girl, or whoever it is that you’re dating.  You are accountable for who you allow in your life.” Peppers, G. (2015, July) Be responsible for whom you allow into your life and the way they affect you. Believe what the person has shown you and not what they’ve said to you. Take accountability for your own actions as well and please, by all means, do not rush into another relationship or begin courting while you’re hurting. This creates a vicious cycle of rebounding and breaking more hearts. Remember, hurt people hurt people. Enjoy your time in recovery. There is a saying, “don’t break your own heart assuming your importance in another person’s life.” Golden Rule. Point. Blank.

Personal: Recognizing the role that I played in the breaking of my own heart was the most difficult. I recounted the many times that my intuition spoke to me, but I ignored her. I had countless gut feelings that something wasn’t right but he’d sugar coat it by saying, “our chemistry is amazing,” when I’d tell him that I felt something wasn’t right.  Often, I brushed it off and assume the vibes I felt were connected to him but, indeed, they were my own guiding forces trying to warn me. I even had a dream that while visiting him, he was hiding another woman in another room.  They both laughed at me as I packed my things to leave.  I woke up feeling my soul rock but brushed it off. That dream/premonition was true. I should’ve listened, but in real life, things were perceived to be normal.  We began talking about starting a family and what that would look like.  Again, I ignored the warning signs that our conversations were strictly through text and maybe a phone call here or there. I take full responsibility for falling in love with his potential and not the reality. Needless to say, when he told me he was involved with somebody else, I wasn’t surprised, just hurt by the way he went about it. He ignored me and brushed me off like I was a placeholder for the person he really wanted.

When we started talking, he said he wasn’t ready for a relationship because he didn’t view himself as a “finished product.” That was the first warning that I ignored because I was ready to settle down and he wasn’t but we proceeded, even sleeping with him a few times that could’ve easily resulted in the conception of a love-child. Again, I ignored the signs because I loved him, trusted him, and held onto his every word. We even had a few disagreements when I thought I gained the strength to decide that I deserve to be treated better, and stop dealing with him but I fell for the “I didn’t want to send mixed feelings, but I’m tired of holding it in,” 15 text message, confession from him, that made my heart melt, and restored faith that this could probably work out. We met in college, had a spark but we were both in relationships so respected the fact that we had someone. The opportunity presented itself last year, and we took it, only to end up here. Perhaps I was overthinking it, right? Wrong, I should’ve continued running for the hills and never looking back. I take responsibility for continuing with him, even when it was obvious that we weren’t going to last, this is part of the process, accountability.

Tip #5: Reflect

Take time to think about what you’ve learned and what you can do differently the next time around.  If the person who hurt you is willing to talk and work it through, great,  If not, you’ll have to be content without closure, and learn how to gain closure by finding peace in the situation, and moving on. Prime example is our very own “Hurt Bae” who went viral. Luckily, she had the chance to face someone who broke her heart. It was ideal to be able to face the breaker of hearts but not a likely outcome after a breakup. So, if you can’t face the heart-breaker, take to the pen and paper or keyboard and write it down. Delete it, share it, burn it, rip it up, or save it, and reread it later to celebrate how far you’ve come.

Personal: By day four I was motivated, gained my appetite back for food and life. I even worked out today and continued to surround myself with family and love. I took my niece to the park and, even though she’s seven, this child made me laugh hard and appreciate living. I then remembered all who’d be left behind if I chose to let a broken heart kill me. No, not suicide, but actually kill me from natural causes. There is such a thing as broken heart syndrome that can be fatal if the symptoms go ignored and left untreated. According to the American Heart Association, a heartbreak or takotsubo cardiomyopathy can occur after a traumatic experience. It is a reaction to the stress hormone that causes angina (severe chest pain) and shortness of breath which are signs of caution that should be carefully monitored. This can happen even if you’re living a healthy life but emotions are real and no matter how “strong” you try to be, the way a person treats you, whom you love, can be damaging to your health. At that point you have two choices, let it kill you or use that experience to make you stronger and give life. 

Remember that it takes time to heal a broken heart and that it is necessary to go through it. Follow these steps and reach out, I encourage dialogue, and hey, you are not alone. This will probably be the first of many heartbreaks, and that’s life, so be ready. The goal here is to learn how to deal with heartbreak in a healthy way. Once you’re healed, tell your story, or tell your story as you’re healing, trust me you’ll live.

~Love and Light


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