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Is Health Cool?

Nick Cannon’s: ‘NCredible Health Hustle’

            A’ight so say word, Nick Cannon is on his grind once again and it’s about to go down. He’s gettin it on and poppin wit his new web series ‘NCredible Health Hustle’.  The boy just had kidney failure and now he’s eatin right and doin big things trying to get back on point.  Yo, so da question is, can health be cool? Can he make it cool?

Now that I have said this with a little urban flare, I will help you out with the translation.  What I really said was: Nick Cannon has just started a new web series entitled “NCredible Health Hustle’.  The series is about Cannon’s journey as he tries to recover from his hospitalization from kidney failure.  He is now very health conscious and eating right making sure he does not end up back in the hospital. So my question that I want all of you to think about throughout this is: can the conversation about health be done in a way that reaches the urban community? Can it be made cool, or is it already cool?

I said the first paragraph the way that I did because though that was not proper English that is a language spoken by many Americans. It is what some may call Ebonics or slang.  It is a cultural language and if you are trying to reach an audience where their population speaks Ebonics and you don’t then how do you communicate? It is like going to another country and you don’t speak the language, communication cannot happen. That is the complexity that is American culture. How we sidle up to differences in our country.  Though there are blatant differences globally, how can understanding the internal differences help you navigate those global differences?

The project that Nick Cannon has undertaken with his web series is very important.  He is a cultural presence that everyone knows.  He was on the show “All That” on Nickelodeon, has had a television, film and rap career and is Mariah Carey’s husband. He is 31-year-old and was hospitalized for kidney failure in January and later diagnosed with lupus nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys. “According to BlackHealthZone.com, approximately 20 million Americans have some form of kidney disease. An even more sobering statistic: Black men between the ages of 20 to 29 are 10 times more likely to develop kidney failure due to high blood pressure than Caucasian men in the same age group. Furthermore, African American men between the ages of 30 to 39 are about 14 times more likely to develop kidney failure than their White counterparts. While hypertension and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease in the United States, when zeroing in on why the progression to kidney failure in the African American community is at a much higher rate, it may simply come down to two things: genetics and a lack of proper healthcare.” For the article on check out http://www.blackenterprise.com/2012/01/24/are-black-men-more-susceptible-to-kidney-disease/

Nick through his web series has found a way to reach the urban population that may not listen to the doctor or some Public Service Announcement.  The reason they may not be listening is because the way the message of health is delivered is not cool. In an article by the Washington Post, Cannon says, about his recovery about the diagnosis that “From there, I just figured that I wanted to document the entire process, ‘he said in a recent phone interview. ‘This process might inspire a lot of people. So getting back into shape and getting back to the way that I always was before the condition was a journey.’ ‘Everybody loves it and kind of respects the fact that I would be so candid,’ Cannon said.’

Nick Cannon has considered the “cool factor” in every element of his series.  The title, “NCredible Health Hustle” the incredible is spelled in an urban way and including the word ‘hustle’ makes the video hotter by default.  Then the way he talks and behaves in the series is very relatable.  He has also chosen a popular medium to deliver his message.  I am sure he could have gotten a reality television show if he wanted but he realized that we are quickly growing into an online culture and so he chose to do a web series.  Watch the trailer and one of the episodes or more and tell me what you think. Deuces!




  1. What are some methods to reach an untouched or sub-population with an important message, such as health, in your culture?  What boundaries are there in communicating with them?
  2. Can health be made something cool that African Americans especially and others can rally behind?
  3. Are there any other topics that may need to be upgraded or made cool in your country?  If, so what are they?
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