June 8 Event Promotes Wellness Among Black Men

Attendees of the Black Man's Health Festival in 2023. Photo: Supplied/Heart, Body & Soul, Ralston Smith

By: Christopher Edwards

For the third year, Brooklyn nonprofit Heart, Body & Soul will host the Black Man’s Health Festival providing free screenings, panel discussions and education on health issues facing Black men. The event will take place on Saturday, June 8 at the Weeksvile Heritage Center.

Saturday’s event will begin with a bike ride at 9am, followed by the festival starting at 11am, which includes blood tests for prostate cancer. Attendees can also expect live music from a DJ and food from Aunts et Uncles and Brooklyn Tea.

“I wanted to give Black men something where they would walk in feeling that they were being supported and uplifted and walk out feeling like they were poured into,” said Christopher Williams, founder of Heart, Body & Soul. “I wanted to connect people with access to resources that they normally wouldn’t have access to.”


Heart, Body & Soul founder Christopher Williams. Photo: Supplied/Toni Dubois, Heart, Body & Soul.

Williams, the publisher of WhereItzAt Magazine, founded Heart Body & Soul after facing serious health challenges himself. In October 2015, at the age of 42, Williams suffered his first heart attack. Young and in good physical shape, the heart attack came as a shock.“I didn’t want to tell anyone because it was a scary thing for me,” said Williams. “So, I kept it very quiet.”

More health issues followed in September of 2021 when he went to the emergency room for what he thought was appendicitis, but later learned was Stage 3 appendiceal cancer, a rare type of cancer of the appendix. While awaiting surgery, Williams suffered a second heart attack in October of 2021.

These compounding health challenges inspired Williams to spread awareness about the health disparities faced by Black men. He founded Heart, Body & Soul in 2022 and launched the Black Man’s Health Festival the same year as the nonprofit’s flagship event.

“Besides my own health issues, there were friends of mine who were struggling, who had experienced some really tragic diagnoses and were suffering in silence,” said Williams.

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