If you’re looking for some positivity to get you through the week, here it is.
Over the summer, Styles P and Jadakiss announced the launch of their chain of healthy juice bars in low-income neighborhoods and since the news broke, social media’s response has been overwhelming. But that’s not surprising, as this movement is pretty dope and even celebrities such as Russell Simmons have offered their support.
We’ve been especially inspired by the venture, called Juices For Life, and got the chance to chop it up with Styles about giving back in hip-hop, the overall purpose behind the business, and more.
Check out what he had to say below.
On the benefits juicing can bring to the hood: “A lot of people don’t get the proper amount of greens, fruits, vegetables, or drink the proper amount of water. Juicing is a beautiful way to get yourself on the road to a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t eat healthy already, it’s hard to say overnight, ‘I’m gonna start eating better.’ It takes gradual time. Through juicing, you get a lot of vitamins, minerals, a lot of greens for the day. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like juice. It just clears the body, clears the mind, makes your skin look better, helps with your temperament. It just leads to a more conscious state of being.”
On giving back in hip-hop: “Rap is definitely an egotistical art form and sport, so to say. It’s also braggadocios. But, the rap we come from is also supposed to be informative. I just felt like a lot of these kids weren’t getting the proper information that they needed. The youth listen to what we say. If we’re always talking about, ‘my Bentley cost more than yours, I got this, you don’t have that, I’m richer than you, I look better than you. My swag is better than yours’ – that’s what you hear from almost every rapper today. So, it kind of hit me: where’s our sense of responsibility and community and culture? Just caring about one another, more so than anything. Kids listen to what we say, what most rappers say, and I just felt like, if you could take the time to speak on bitches, ice, strip clubs, Bentleys, and all this shit, then you could take the time to say ‘read a book, eat well, work out, open the door for your mom.’ You gotta use your voice for something good. I felt like it was part of my obligation to try to do something that was going to move me towards that point. Like you said, a lot of people give back, but it’s more than just giving back and saying, ‘hey, this is what I gave. I gave back. Notice me, let me get the credit for it.'”
On what piqued his interest in juicing: “It’s more so about giving back on a daily basis, because although we are rappers and we often do get rich and get a better lifestyle, when we get braggadocios, we kinda forget about those who never had that lifestyle and that won’t get rich and don’t have the opportunity to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I just feel our responsibility is to say, ‘this is what we’re doing, this is why we’re out here. We’re into this other stuff.’ Yeah, we smoke, we drink, strippers, cars, make it rain, but what about your mom? What about your aunt who’s in the hospital? People with no health insurance? Practically none of the hood even has health insurance or goes to the doctor enough. So, we feel like this is a preventative stage. You can prevent if you do the right things and put the right things in your body. Try to take care of it. You can prevent before the bad starts happening to you.”
On how their vision came to life: “Kiss joined me at another store. One of my other juice bar partners. He owned a juice bar in Harlem called Fruits of Life. Years ago I used to do my interviews there and set up things. I used to try to have all of my friends on. And then from me putting so many people on to juice, my partner told me one day, ‘you have to be a partner in this. This is bigger than you just helping me out. You belong in juicing,’ and she always promoted us to work out. So, we just try to spread the word to each other, anytime you get anything good, to our homeboys and to our families. Teamwork makes the dream work. Strength in numbers. No single man could really make a movement move.”
On the higher prices associated with healthy juicing: “$7 is our most expensive drink, which is the Armageddon shake. Mainly our drinks are $4 and $5, but when we start doing cold pressed juices, which we will start soon, those will be a little more because of what it takes to make the actual juice. We’re probably the most reasonably priced juice bar in the world. In the city, for sure. And we give out nice cups and we also give out sample cups, too. But, when people complain about the price of organic food compared to junk, the price of the doctor bill is going to trump all that shit. The price of diseases and bad health will trump that by far. It’s kind of like, you don’t get a car and put shitty oil or shitty gas. You put the best gas in your car. You try to buy yourself the best clothes, the best sneakers to wear. Everything you try to do the best. Why would you cut that short when it comes to your body? Without your body, your personal self, without the temple, you ain’t shit. There’s no need of even being rich if you can’t enjoy it in health. People have to get the concept of that doctor’s bill is going to cost you a little more later on. People kind of get it when you tell them like that.”
On their plans to expand the chain: “For the juice bar, I do want a bigger chain. But the actual all-around purpose and goal is bigger than what we’re just doing. It’s bigger than just saying, ‘Hey, go to Styles P and Jadakiss’ juice bar, visit Juices For Life.’ Fast food has been around since maybe 1915, 1920. If you’re in a poor neighborhood, then there’s not a lot of healthy options. We’re trying to definitely get our juice bars expanded to at least in every state eventually, and you know worldwide, God willing, and definitely sell pressed juices around the world. But bigger than that, we’re just trying to open up the minds of the hood and everybody kind of spread the word of juicing. If you come to my juice bar and you never come back again, I’m cool with that. If you take the menu and just juice your family up and continue to juice. It’s not really about the money. We work, so we’re going to get money. It’s about being in like-minded with the hood so that you, or anybody else, somebody’s cousin, can think of something healthy to put in their hood. So, one day it could be 100 juice bars, 100 health stores, hundreds of everything everywhere. We need to have them without it being a problem for us.
On the response Juices For Life has received: The response is cool. There’s a couple of celebrities who have reached out, but we want to make it more – this can’t be a one-time thing. If it was up to me, every rapper would be trying to give something back health-wise. Not just juice and exercising, but eating right, meditating, reading, yoga, whatever it is, you can do that. You can pass on to someone that’s going to help them, help relieve stress, help relax, help them get out a situation they might not want to be in. I feel it’s something we all need. As a people, especially in hip-hop where we at today, not to be funny, but it’s kind of crazy. I’ll be 41 next month, so I grew up on the hip-hop that was more informative and gave more information to the youth. So, what are they learning? And who are they learning off of now-a-days? And do we give a fuck if they learning or not? That’s something we gotta care about, so I just hope it sparks a spark. That way, everybody says we gotta do something. It’s cool to have all this money and doing all this other shit and being braggadocio, but how do we take care of our own, who we forgot about, who basically can’t even afford a Honda Civic? Might not even be able to get a MTA pass. We can’t forget about those people. If we focus on health is wealth, and keep that in mind, I think the whole word, the hood, poor folks, suburbs, middle class, rich people – I think we’ll all be able to get along and shit will work out smoother.”
On his favorite juicing recipe: “For health purposes, I would probably say an apple, lemon, ginger or something like that. Because lemons cleanse, ginger cures sickness, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
For more on Juices For Life, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty