In a timely initiative coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop, industry veteran and mental health advocate Shanti “Shoestring” Das has introduced a new podcast, the mibo show. With the mission of shattering the silence surrounding the mental and physical health challenges faced by artists in the hip-hop industry, the platform seeks to harness the influence of hip-hop culture to enhance health outcomes for people of color.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Das grew up immersed in music from the likes of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang, Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, Whodini, and other artists who helped lay the foundation for hip-hop. Her passion for the genre led her to Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications in 1990, where she’d become an on-air DJ for WJPZ, the campus radio station. By 1991, she had risen to the position of Assistant Promotions Director and curated a Saturday night hip-hop show, carving a path that merged her love for music with her career goals.
In 1993, just four months after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Syracuse, Das’ journey took a momentous turn. LaFace Records, founded by industry titans Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, hired her as their National Director of Promotions.
Charged with nurturing the careers of iconic artists such as OutKast, TLC, Usher, Toni Braxton, and Goodie Mob, Das’ influence extended far beyond her title. Her dedication led to her promotion to LaFace’s marketing department, where she continued to foster the growth and exposure of the label’s roster. From orchestrating extensive promotional campaigns to embarking on tours with legendary artists like TLC – Das devoted herself to ensuring the world recognized the talent emerging from Atlanta’s music scene.
Today, Das, is the driving force behind the mibo show, with hopes of inspiring the culture and doing transformative work, especially as it pertains to mental health. “I hope to inspire our culture and community to take charge of their lives and make the mind and body their first priority,” Das said.
The show’s name comes from the fusion of “mi,” signifying the mind, and “bo,” representing the body. The mibo show stands as a testament to the interconnectedness of mental and physical well-being. With a primary focus on health issues disproportionately affecting the Black community, each episode explores topics including mental health, heart disease, diabetes, stroke prevention, and hip replacement, among others. Echoing the much needed conversation are experts from Johnson & Johnson contributing insight, statistics, and valuable resources to empower listeners.
Das’ journey toward advocating mental and physical health took root in her personal struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. The tragic loss of her best friend to suicide served as a wake-up call, propelling her to embark on a journey of self-prioritization and to initiate open dialogues about health challenges. Recognizing how taxing the entertainment industry can be, Das stressed the importance of conversations that had been lacking. “The entertainment industry is known to ‘go, go, go’ without much time to stop, process, and simply talk in between — about health, or anything for that matter,” Das said.
In 2016, Das founded Silence the Shame, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, she continued her advocacy through health and wellness check-ins on Instagram Live, which eventually evolved into YouTube content.
The mibo show is the latest manifestation of Das’ commitment to fostering wellness among the masses. The podcast’s first four episodes, launched this summer, have already made an impact. The inaugural in-person episode featured Rapper Erick Sermon and dove into the ramifications of heart disease within the Black community. Upcoming episodes boast a star-studded lineup including Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C., Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and David Banner.
By advocating for open conversations on mental and physical health, the mibo show embodies Shanti Das’s mission to transform lives and uplift the community not only through awareness, but education.
Listeners can access the podcast on a variety of platforms, including YouTube, Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Audible, and iHeart. Follow the mibo show on Instagram and YouTube.