Hip-Hop Public Health (HHPH) and Area 23
Lil Sugar — Master of Disguise

Overconsumption of sugar is a national problem. And due to decades of systemic racial inequities, Black communities are hit hardest — especially children. Food deserts, created by the discriminatory practice of redlining, make the problem worse. With a lack of access to healthy food and nutrition literacy, obesity, diabetes and increased mortality are persistent injustices. 

It’s hard to push back against sinister sugar because companies use over 150 different names for it. Hip-Hop Public Health’s powerful campaign makes unmasking this devious Master of Disguise fun, engaging and entertaining.

A high-energy music video is the effort’s principle engine, featuring the legendary Run DMC as the voice of the animated villain, exposing how companies try to trick kids (and their parents) on product labeling.

The video anchors a multichannel campaign that is an epic blend of science and pop culture. Medical researchers spent months compiling hundreds of forms of sugar used by the food industry, categorizing them and compiling data about each one, ranking them from most toxic to least harmful. The results of this scientific research were applied to every aspect of the campaign. And most importantly, it became the backbone of the app’s sugar cards’ stats, which defined which sugar won or lost during the sugar battles.

Cultural research was also applied to the campaign from start to finish. With music, gaming and storytelling, the book, music video and app — all created pro bono — this grassroots movement has already delivered valuable nutrition education to millions of school children.


Kindness Over Muscular Dystrophy and Eversana Intouch
Fierce Against Muscular Dystrophy

Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects one in 5,000 newborns, mostly boys. It’s incurable and fatal, taking away the ability to walk, breathe and even smile. Funding for research is low. This nonprofit, created by the parents of Conner Curran, diagnosed at age 4, harnesses the mighty beast inside kids like him, determined to defy the disease. Annual fundraising rose 27%.