Hip Hop Gets Healthy With Bun B
Rapper Bun B knows a thing or two about health and the effects of not taking care of yourself. Born Bernard Freeman, the now solo artist was once one-half of the platinum-selling southern rap duo UGK with his late partner Pimp C.
Pimp C passed away in 2007 as a result of the combination of a sleep apnea condition and the ingestion of a codeine-based cough syrup. At the time, UGK was at a commercial peak and two days later they received their first Grammy nomination. The death hit the hip hop community suddenly, which is why he and Chinara Butler, Pimp C’s widow, collaborated to form the Annual Chad ‘Pimp C’ Butler Hip Hop, Health & Wellness Festival.
When speaking about the event, Bun B announced, “It’s a great opportunity to know about yourself. Find out about your body, get yourself tested and find out about the vision of my brother and his wife.”
The festival includes a number of activities and attractions including a UGK/Pimp C memorabilia exhibit, HIV/STD testing, immunizations, a Wii video console raffle and an art submission contest. All of the proceeds from the festival go to the Butler Scholarship Fund which was launched by Chinara.
A number of organizations have signed up to help Bun B and Butler put on the festival including the CCM foundation, which partners with hip hop musicians to increase STI/HIV awareness, and Houston’s S.E.A C, which promotes syphilis awareness.
Bun B doesn’t just talk a good game about health, he lives it, too. “I treated my voice — well, not just my voice but my body — terribly for years,” confesses Bun-B. “I smoked cigarettes, drank a lot of hard liquor. Luckily my voice — I didn’t lose my voice but I got kind of close to losing the, I guess, the force behind it. Like, I was starting to do a little damage to my stomach lining as well as my lung capacity, so I just had to kind of back off a little bit and realize, like, ‘Look, if you were a quarterback, you wouldn’t treat your throwing arm this way, you know, so don’t treat your voice this way.'”