The rap doctor

20130208bajaninnewyorkWithin the space of a half of a century, the environment in which children now live has changed significantly to the extent that children take cell phones and I pads everywhere they go.

Indeed, it is possible that two young people can be in the same house and be each other from different rooms.

There have been many interesting adjustments to this change. Some neighbourhood stores in Queens now sell “safe keeping” and charge a stipend for the safe keeping of phones — which may be confiscated if seen by staff at schools. Inside the classroom, teachers now use smart boards instead of “chalk and talk”. Professionals are also using new strategies.

We can proudly include among these innovators John Clarke — a trained American doctor of Barbadian descent — who uses his cultural talent as an additional medium to get his message out to the young folk. He is also a rapper and has published many CD’s.

One of his CDs, titled Children’s Health Songs, is a fun collection of the songs of exercise, manners, eating fruits and vegetables, dancing, dental hygiene, cleaning the bedroom and more.

This CD has two sections that include an instrumental track. Section 1 has 10 songs and includes songs with titles such as: Be Polite, Dr. Do it , A book or 2, Zoo Dance, Brush your teeth and Fun to clean.

The lyrics of the song — Fruity, veggie — very healthy include:

Attention! Attention!

Have you heard?

Dr Clarke’s introducing a brand new word.

It’s Fruityveggieveryhealthy,

a word that’s new.

It describes the foods that are good for you:

Fruit is yummy for your tummy,

a treat for you to eat.

Yes it’s very good,

and yes it is very sweet.

Oranges, peaches, pineapples or cherries.

Raspberries, black, blue, and strawberries

And the words of Brush your Teeth go as follows:

Brush your teeth, keep them white clean.

Yes you can, flossing between.

Brush your teeth, brush them right.

In the morning, noon, and night.

Two other recently produced CDs are titled: You could feel good — A CD on Sickle Cell Anemia; and Asthma Stuff.

In summer, Clarke’s family, whose maternal grandparents were originally from Melverton, in St. George, was honoured by the Young Professional Barbadian Society, as a Barbadian family that epitomizes Bajan great genes. He was also featured in a Long Island Newsday Sunday magazine which carried Clarke’s picture on its front page of the magazine insert with leading caption: The Doctor is into rap. The subtitle said: Physicians moonlighting as musicians.

In this Delthia Ricks story about how five physicians spend their spare time, Clarke stated that as a resident he did a study to determine if it were possible to effectively reach teenagers using rap music. Clarke, who started writing at the age of eight, won a US Department of Health award for the best public service announcement — HINI rap — which was a national contest during the swine flu scare. The story also quotes Clarke as saying:

“I do all the music myself. I roughly put in about 100 hours to pull a song together. I record it, mix it and master it and really enjoy it.”

Clarke is married and has four children. His wife and children contribute to production of the songs.

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