Monday, September 15, 2014

Apollo's 2nd Annual Healthy Soul Festival

Apollo President, Jonelle Procope
Preventative health tips, balanced wellness and medical seminars were joined with music and local vendors for the Apollos 2nd Annual Healthy Soul Festival on September 13th.

Speakers included medical experts such as Dr. Ian Smith, Dr. John Palmer, Dr. Olajide Williams and Dr. Icilma Fergus to help discuss the dynamics behind several health complications that can arise from poor diet, little exercise and present everyday solutions for residents.

The free event was held from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. and featured discussions on the dangers and facts of obesity, heart disease and major killers of minorities across the U.S. which are prevalent in the Harlem Community.

Fergus, President of the National Association of Black Cardiologists, introduced the Harlem Healthy Hearts program where health insurance can be discussed, clinical trials can take place at the benefit of participants or individuals with any health risk or concerns can get screened.

What we do is we talk to them about being heart healthy, everything from what you eat to how you feel, she said about the program, which is not hospital specific.

Earl "the Pearl" Monroe signs autographs for a Knicks fan
Even Knicks veterans, like John Starks and Earl the Pearl Monroe came out to support by signing autographs for fans who cherished their games from when the Garden was Eden.

Being a Harlem resident, I can relate to this and even if I wasnt out here signing autographs, I still would be here, said Monroe.

There were also selfie stations using hashtags of #harlemhealthy, first aid tents, food demonstrations by Chef Raymond, and health screening areas by Holistic Care, the William F. Ryan Community Health Center and Harlem United Mobile Clinics.

The greener you are is the cleaner you are inside, were the words to attendees from one of the  food demonstrations by the Reggae Sun Juice Bar.

Dr. Ian Smith discusses preventative health measures 
April Jenkins happened to be walking past the festival when she walked in to discover about programs for children's swimming for her daughter and also get retested for high blood pressure.

Its the first time I ever had it and the numbers switched and theyre going to help me find out why, she said.

Despite the intermingling of rain, crowds gathered for the festival to attend the information seminars and performances of Faith Evans and Christian Guardino inside and even joined under the tents to participate in activity while it poured.

When you look at ethnic minorities in the Harlem community - the access to health, the lack of financial wherewithal - impacts health directly, because they cant get healthcare and they cant get insurance, said Dr. Smith. All the things that prevent diseases or treats diseases become a problem.

Reggae Sun Juice Bar offers health tips and advice on juicing
He said that it all starts with desire, and recommended even utilizing large government organization health sites such as and that can be a portal regarding information about heart disease, stroke and cancer.

This is healthy for me, this is healthy that people learn about health so they can cure themselves and live longer and be around for their children, said resident Shaheed Muhammad.

The event was a partnership between Apollo, Coca-Cola and EmblemHealth.