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Iconic Rapper Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels Voices AREA 23 and Hip Hop Public Health's Cunning Sugar Cube 'Lil Sugar'

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Lil Sugar aims to educate families and children in the fight against childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes

Iconic Rapper Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels Voices AREA 23 and Hip Hop Public Health's Cunning Sugar Cube 'Lil Sugar'

AREA 23, an IPG Health company, has launched the multi-platform campaign, ‘Lil Sugar,’ in collaboration with the New York-based, global non-profit organisation, Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) to raise awareness about the hidden sugars in many of the foods we eat. A leader in health education and advocacy, Hip Hop Public Health is dedicated to fusing art, music and science to educate and empower youth regarding vital health topics, including obesity, stroke, hypertension and related conditions; and, most recently, Covid-19.

As recent data show, the already alarming disparities in obesity rates among children ages two through 17 have increased since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, likely due to a combination of factors such as school closings, shutdowns of organised youth sports, and limited after-school activities, coupled with challenges in accessing fresh nutritious foods, and increased consumption of comfort foods that contain excessive amounts of fat and sugar. As a result, the pandemic  has accelerated childhood obesity, putting young people at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and other health issues. ‘Lil Sugar’ aims to improve nutrition literacy and shed light on the many sugars that are lurking in the foods we eat.

The campaign centres around the character ‘Lil Sugar’ – a cunning sugar cube and master of disguise whose primary goal is to ensure that no one recognises who or what it truly is or where it’s hiding until it’s too late. Lil Sugar is introduced in an original song and animated hip-hop music video that features Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels of RUN DMC as the voice of Lil Sugar. As a hip-hop legend, community advocate, and health enthusiast, DMC uses hard-hitting raps and unapologetic swagger to reveal Lil Sugar’s sinister strategy of stealthily making his way into various foods that children and families eat.

“Health advocacy is a passion of mine, and music is the ultimate form of expression when it comes to sharing important health information within our communities,” says Darryl DMC McDaniels. “I am honoured to lend my voice to represent Lil Sugar and hope that we will inspire young people everywhere to make conscious decisions about nutrition and their well-being.”

“We wanted to create a character like Lil Sugar that would resonate with both parents and children and educate them on the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar,” said Tim Hawkey, CCO of AREA 23. “Working with a legend like DMC enables the campaign to reach key audiences, particularly those in communities that have been economically/socially marginalised, and to do so in a fun and engaging way.”

In addition to the song and music video, the campaign includes an accompanying website, an interactive app, and is the subject of an engaging and colourful companion children’s book, Lil Sugar Master of Disguise, with a foreword by Dr. Olajide Williams, Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, Associate Dean of Community Research and Engagement and tenured Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, and Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology at NewYork Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Centre.

There are currently at least 150 different names for sugar in 74% of packaged goods in the US, and most people cannot distinguish them which makes the need for education even more critical. Childhood obesity rates continue to rise and cause an increased risk for serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and Covid-19. Black and Brown communities in particular are facing disproportionately higher rates of these illnesses. These disparities exist for a variety of reasons including lack of access to healthy affordable foods (food deserts), the myriad effects of systemic and historic racism, access to health care, lower levels of health literacy and other social determinants of health.

“Childhood obesity continues to be one of the most pressing health issues facing young people and Covid-19 has magnified it,” says Dr. Williams. “The goal of Lil Sugar is to arm parents, children, educators and the general public with the tools they need to be aware of and take action against the harmful consequences of consuming too much sugar. We look forward to continuing this campaign and working with a variety of partners to spread the word about Lil Sugar.”

To learn more about 'Lil Sugar,' please visit here

The collaborative team behind the creation and launch of Lil Sugar includes AREA 23, an IPG Health Company, Hip Hop Public Health, Zombie, Canja, Blurred Vision Entertainment, BizSys, Asteroide, Produceria, Darryl DMC McDaniels, and Finn Partners.

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Area 23, an IPG Health Company

Chief Creative Officer: Tim Hawkey

Executive Creative Director: Elliot Langerman

Creative Team: Thiago Fernandes, Fabio Rodrigues, Eduardo Tavares, Arthur Daraujo, Widerson Souza, Connor Reilly, John Roberts, Angela Williams

Technology & Production

EVP, Director Integrated Production: Jennifer Ma

SVP, Director Technology: Bill Hanff

SVP, Group Director, Broadcast Production: Chinkara Singh

VP, Director Technology: Joel Herold

VP, Director Print Production: Frank Laport

Associate Director Technology: Aaron Stack

Senior Developer: Daniel Englert

Developer: Kary Huang

Senior UX Architect: Matt Piwowarsky

UX Architect: Peter Mylonas

Broadcast Producer: Michael Glennon

Executive Producer, Broadcast: Anna Lopez


EVP, Medical Director: Wolf Gallwitz, PhD

Medical Research: Aldacilene Souza da Silva, PhD


SVP, Editorial Director: Fritznel Loriston

Editors: Jason Marin, Pete Res, Cait Gallagher, Will Randick, Madeleine Disner, Aja Horowitz, Elisabeth Fetterman, Joanna Chlebus

Corporate Communications

Director, Corporate Communications: Chido Tsemunhu

VP, Global Corporate Communications: Jessica Spano

Hip Hop Public Health

Founder & Board Chair: Dr Olajide Williams

Executive Director & CEO: Lori Rose Benson

Advisory Board Member/Music Performed by: Darryl DMC McDaniels

Board Member: Eric Pliner

Chief Strategy Engagement Officer: Patrice Webb

Chief Programs Operation Officer: Lindsay Harr

Marketing Strategist: Mariam Bekele

Chief Growth Advisor: Melinda Gould

Health Education Content Reviewers: Andrew Milne, Vanessa Sawyer

Composer, lyricist, producer: Q. Worthy (Blurred Vision)

Lyricist: BJ Gray (Blurred Vision)

Advisory Board Member: Tony Drootin (Sound on Sound Studios)

Special Thanks: Erik Blamoville, Jonathan Bloom

Zombie Studios

Director: Paulo Garcia

Creative Director: Daniel Salles

Executive Producer: Nathalia Gouveia

Lead Art Director/Concept Art: Marcelo Garcia

Animation Producer: André Carvalho

CGI Lead: Claudio Junior

CGI Lead/Technical Director: Wallan Oliveira

CGI Lead/Technical Director: Isaac Buzzola

Storyboard & Animatic: Saulo Brito

Storyboard & Animatic: Gabriel São Marcos

Animation Director: Jonathan Souza

Concept Art: Feppa Rodriguez

Account: Stefanie Dias

Account: Stephanie Wang

Canja Audio Culture

Audio Director: Lucas Sfair

Audio Director: Eduardo Karas

Audio Director: Filipe Resende

Audio Director: Bruno Veira

Audio Producer: Pedro Souza

Audio Producer: Guilherme Moreno

Audio producer: Levy Mynssen

Studio Coordinator: Ana Flor

Voice Talent: Odwa Gulwa


CEO: Rodrigo Cassino

Head of Development: Renato Caetano

UX Designer & Motion Graphics: Samuel Callegari

UX Designer & Motion Graphics: Thayná Shimoda

Product Manager: Danielle Medeiros

Product Manager: Jessica Pacino

Asteroide Films

Executive & Creative Director: Guilherme Biglia

Creative & post Director: Giuliano Biondi

Producer: Amanda Ricciardi

Producer: Giulia Povezan

Editor: André Albuquerque

Art Director: Carlos Karan


CEO: Sid Fernandes

Finn Partners

Global Chief Diversity Officer: Helen Shelton

Genres: Animation, Music & Sound Design

Categories: Health, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Area 23, An IPG Health Company, Tue, 05 Oct 2021 14:42:46 GMT