Rodney ‘Okai’ Fleurimont, is a percussionist and MC who is interested in the importance and benefit of a healthy diet in a musician’s life. In recent experiences traveling with his music band, he realized that, beyond the fatigue of traveling through different time-zones, the meals his colleagues consumed had a direct correlation with their performances. Okai has previously taught at PS 189 in Brownsville, Brooklyn as a Ti Atis teacher via HCX and his experiences leading workshops and various other initiatives, made him realize that there is a pressing need for the youth in the Black community to think about their diet. Issues of diabetes and obesity are prominent within the youth of the black community.
With his project in Canarsie, Okai partnered with various drummers, masters of Afro-Caribbean and West-African techniques, to teach students how to play the drums. Each session began with a class on exercise and diet. Okai’s goal is to inspire the Haitian-American youth to keep their passion for music alive by understanding that they need the physical strength to carry their musical instruments around and also to play for hours without collapsing. There were many other benefits in participating in Okai’s workshops. Discipline and team-work are the qualities he has seen his students acquire as they learn how to play the drums. They understand that it takes great team-work and perfect coordination to carry out a nice melody. Read the event recap here.