Love and Fit Hop: an interview wit’ Stic.man of dead prez

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Love and Fit Hop with Stic of dead prez and Afya Ibomu is today, Monday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m., in the Merritt College Student Lounge, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland

by The People’s Minister of Information JR

Stic.man of the revolutionary rap group dead prez and his wife, Afya Ibomu, have been together for over two decades, which is rare in the Black community, and they are both engaged in creating “Fit-Hop,” a subgenre that promotes sobriety and healthy living as opposed to the mainstream Hip Hop. After years of fit living, these two fitness experts are sharing some of the ways that they care for their bodies as well as their relationship, in a presentation called “Love and Fit-Hop.”

Afya Ibomu and Stic.man of dead prez
Afya Ibomu and Stic.man of dead prez

Rarely during Black History Month do we hear the topic of relationship building, but it is fundamental to growing healthy Black families and, in turn, communities. On Monday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Merritt College Student Lounge, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland, Stic and Afya will teach the seven strategies that this powerful couple has developed and lived by in building and expanding their relationship, family and commitment to personal and community health and wellness.

I appreciate Stic and Afya coming to the Bay to promote the topic and Stic for doing this interview. Check him out in his own words.

M.O.I. JR: What is your “Love and Fit Hop” presentation about? And why did you give it that name?

Stic: “Love and Fit Hop” is a conversation and a presentation on seven health and relationship strategies that my wife Afya and I have discovered on our 22-year journey together.

The popular TV show Love and Hip Hop often emphasizes dysfunction in relationships but what Love and Fit Hop offers is positive and practical strategies for loving relationships and healthy lifestyles. “Fit Hop” is a new genre of hardcore hip hop and optimistic lyricism that builds on holistic health and fitness, sobriety, martial arts, meditation and so forth. Kind of like straight edge music is for the punk scene. So love and fit hop is a presentation that shares our story as a couple still rolling strong with 22 years in and some of the best practices we have distilled for well-rounded wellbeing.

M.O.I. JR: Without giving up all the game, what does it take to be committed to someone for 22 years?

Stic: Oh, it’s no secret; it’s a process. The nutshell answer is “friendship and love.” It’s having a team vision and lots of willingness to grow and forgive and have faith in the family unit. We share our journey in the presentation of how we met and how we have influenced each other, challenges we’ve faced and how holistic health has been a central theme in our development and strength as a family.

Emory Douglas, minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, and Stic.man backstage at the Life is Living Festival in Oakland on Feb. 26, 2014 – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report
Emory Douglas, minister of culture for the Black Panther Party, and Stic.man backstage at the Life is Living Festival in Oakland on Feb. 26, 2014 – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

M.O.I. JR: Why is Black love important?

Stic: Well, love is universal and is universally important. But to speak specifically to your question about Black love, our community experiences so many oppressive conditions and is still facing so much injustice and dysfunction. Within the family unit is where it hits us the hardest.

When our personal love relationships are not prioritized and nourished, all the other compound socio-political relationships that we need are built on shaky ground. If the individual households ain’t together, so to speak, it’s harder to organize the block.

Black love is revolutionary; it’s outlaw, because it’s about the power in the people at work at the core unit of society, the family. Black love is hands on interpersonal activism that fortifies our relationships from within so that we can strengthen one another and so that our unions can be beneficial to our communities as well, which we believe is the highest purpose of our union, being a unified force of service.

M.O.I. JR: What made you get into martial arts and running?

Stic: I got into fitness as a lifestyle after being diagnosed with gout in my early 20s. My wife guided me in transitioning to a vegan diet and over the past 10 years, I have studied Jeet Kune Do, Wu Shu Kwan and Afrikan martial arts as well.

I got really into distance running and became a marathoner and just recently got certified as a running coach by the RRCA. I train to live and love to train. I think fitness is so much more than competition. For me it’s a spiritual practice that relieves stress, keeps me in shape and helps me cultivate the confidence and discipline to accomplish my goals in life.

I have a new single and video dropping soon for the Workout 2, so I’m thankful for the patient support, especially from the Bay Area which has always been home team for the RBGs.

DJ X1, Stic.man and Davey D in 2007 – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report
DJ X1, Stic.man and Davey D in 2007 – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell people about the books that you two have out, respectively?

Stic: My newest book will be out around my birthday, the beginning of March 2015. It’s called “Eat Plants, Lift Iron.”

I collaborated with my strength trainer, Scott Shetler, NASC-CPT, and my wife Afya who has a degree in nutrition and is a certified holistic health counselor.

We share the story, training details and meal plans and recipes of my experiment to see if I could gain 20 pounds on an all vegan gluten free, supplement free, high performance diet. While I kept up my long distance running! It was an awesome journey and I hope it can be helpful and inspiring to the skinny cats out there who wanna build some muscle without sacrificing their long term health.

My wife’s newest cookbook drops late February; it’s called “The Vegan Remix,” and Erykah Badu wrote the foreword. It’s ethnic cuisines from all over the world, remixed as soulful vegan versions, gluten free and minus many of the common allergens such as soy and so on.

M.O.I. JR: How can people keep up with what y’all are doing?

Stic: My wife and I are up to something that we are tremendously excited about and we are just about ready to debut a new website that combines both of our works in one location and provides a culturally relevant hub for people into well-rounded wellbeing.

My radio show, The Balance, will also be featured there! But I can’t reveal the website name just yet! Shhhh! So in the meantime you can catch daily updates with us both at

And our websites:

Gratitude and love!

The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at blockreportradio@gmail.com.

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