By Carter Higgins –Blackdoctor.org
“Growing up in Yonkers, New York, we didn’t know what was good for us. If you walk down a block in the ‘hood, it was nearly impossible to find something healthy to put in your body.” Those are the words from mult–platinum rapper Jadakiss. Originally from the legendary hip hop group, The Lox, Jadakiss reflects on the poverty stricken food desert where he once lived.
“We were consuming whatever was available to us.”
“In the poor communities, it’s mostly the money gets invested in liquor stores and kinda things we really don’t need,” Styles P says.
“All we knew was running to the fast food spots and convenient stores to get slices of pizza, chips, big bags of candy, doughnuts, etc. It was garbage,” Jadakiss confesses.
So Jadakiss, along with another award-winning rapper and former member of The Lox, Styles P, teamed up and did something uncommon for hardcore rappers: opening natural juice bars in their old neighborhood, simply called Juices For Life.
We all know that that the high rates of obesity and disease in urban communities are not a result of people not wanting to be healthy, but a problem of access. Instead of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many of us in urban communities end up in the emergency room as a last resort when they get sick. It’s the highest cost of health care. But preventative care is the lowest cost. That’s what Jadakiss and Styles P are trying to do.
“Our juice bars are open in the hoods on purpose to educate our people on health awareness,” Jadakiss says in a video.
“Most of the hood we don’t have health insurance, we don’t go to the doctor when we should, so we [Me & Jada] have to find ways to prevent [health issues before they come up].
The juice bars take it a step further by creating unique juice blends to tackle a variety of diseases and conditions including acne, allergies, brochitis, cancer, anemia, etc–all of this listed on their menus!
Both rappers say that as they became successful, they realized the importance of eating healthy.
“As times change, people change, you evolve and you learn about taking care of the body,” Jadakiss says.
Styles P says the biggest advantage of being healthy is having a clear mind.
“When I started seeing change in my thought process is when I really had the utmost respect for it,” he says. Juice Lee, co-founder and co-owner of Juices for Life, says the New York artists are helping the community out of the goodness of their hearts.
“They wanted to do this thing for the people,” he says.
Styles P hopes that the message of the importance of nutrition catches on despite the stereotypes that eating healthy is an elitist lifestyle.
“It’s something you should spread the word on,” he says. “You’re not too cool. You’re not too gangster. You’re not too fly. You’re not too anything to say, ‘Hey, here’s something good to do. Do it.”
“There’s nothing soft about juicing,” Jadakiss says.
“We didn’t have the knowledge or the opportunity like we do now. And that’s what we’re giving back to our people: knowledge and opportunity to at least live.”