CDC Foundation’s “Live to the Beat” Returns to Hip Hop Roots to Celebrate One Year Anniversary of Campaign to Combat Heart Disease in Black Adults

ATLANTA – February 17, 2023 – The health implications from COVID-19 have been felt across society, especially for the Black community. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national decline in heart disease death rate reversed during the COVID-19 pandemic, disproportionately affecting Black adults. CDC data show that during the pandemic the United States lost approximately five years of progress in reducing heart disease rates across all races and ethnicities. Black adults experienced approximately 10 years of lost progress. On Saturday, February 25 in Atlanta, the CDC Foundation’s “Live to the Beat” campaign will leverage the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop, American Heart Month as well as Black History Month to shine a spotlight on steps people can take to improve their heart health by hosting an immersive cultural health and wellness event, “Live to the Beat.” The event will be hosted by renowned rapper Killer Mike and streamed live online at

In recent studies, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, has been cited as the leading cause of potentially preventable death in the United States, with more people dying each year from CVD than any other cause. In 2021 alone, more than 930,000 deaths in the United States were due to CVD, which equates to 1 in every 4 deaths. Although mortality rates have increased across all demographic groups, Black adults continue to be disproportionately affected. According to the American Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure among Black people in the United States is among the highest in the world.

The CDC Foundation’s “Live to the Beat” campaign, which includes the February 25 event, is kicking off its second year with an enhanced focus on community outreach aimed at helping address cardiovascular disease in Black adults in the United States. The “Live to the Beat” campaign in its first nine months produced a suite of 65 cardiovascular disease (CVD) education resources; generated more than 479,000 connections to culturally-relevant health education content; engaged with more than 11,000 people through community wellness events; and referred nearly 1,500 people to additional health resources.

“The CDC Foundation is encouraged by the warm reception the “Live to the Beat” campaign has received from the public health community and from Black people across the nation,” said Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, chief health equity and strategy officer for the CDC Foundation. “With recent CDC data showing we still have a long way to go, the campaign’s plans to engage more audiences through community and grassroots outreach are now more important than ever.”

“CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention recognizes addressing cardiovascular disease among Black adults in the United States is urgent,” said Booker Daniels, health communication team lead, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at CDC. “Live to the Beat’ is an important consumer-focused effort that encourages people to take smalls steps to lower their risk for heart disease and stroke.”

"Being a touring musician is a lot of fun but doesn't lend itself to the healthiest of lifestyles. A few years ago, in between touring cycles, my doctor told me that all of my indicators were saying I needed to make some lifestyle changes if I wanted to be around to see my band become rap's AC/DC,” said Killer Mike, Grammy Award-winning rapper and community activist. “Ever since, I've been on mission to learn how to take better care of myself. I look forward to learning more and engaging the Black community at ‘Live to the Beat.’”

The CDC Foundation has engaged Rock The Bells, the global platform founded by CEO and Entertainment icon LL COOL J to elevate Hip Hop culture, to produce the February 25 “Live to the Beat” event. The event will engage hundreds of people in-person and thousands more via a livestream at with an immersive experience filled with heart-healthy activities. Activities and special guests include a DJ set by radio personality and host Big Tigger; a healthy meals cooking class instructed by chef Nzali Scales; a hip-hop fitness session led by personal trainer and TV personality Toya Johnson; meditation and yoga with wellness expert Lauren Williams; and on-site health screenings, all aimed to provide attendees with fun activities, knowledge about CVD prevention, and the tools they need to develop heart-healthy daily habits.

The “Live to the Beat” wellness event will take place at The West Venue, 1710 Defoor Avenue NW, Atlanta, 30318 on February 25 from 2:00–6:00 PM EST. The interactive event will include incentives and prize drawings for on-site and virtual participants. Attendees can RSVP to attend in-person in Atlanta.

About ”Live to the Beat” The “Live to the Beat” campaign is led by CDC Foundation as part of its Alliance for Million Hearts®, a public-private coalition to help fuel the Million Hearts® Initiative toward its goal of preventing one million heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events by 2027. The campaign aims to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among Black adults ages 35–54 with a focus on primary prevention, including moving more, eating better, quitting smoking and addressing key risk factors like hypertension, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Amgen and Bayer are funders for the campaign; the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), Black Heart Association (BHA), Girl Trek and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) are community partners. To learn more about the “Live to the Beat” and steps to take for healthier living, visit

Media Contacts: Danny Astoria, EGAMI Group