"We Derby with Heart" Brings Release the Pressure Campaign to Local Communities on World Hypertension Day

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Nearly half of all Black women over age 20 have heart disease, though many do not even realize it. This World Hypertension Day, the national Release the Pressure (RTP) campaign is on a mission to change that. Streaming on Ebony.com tomorrow, May 17 at 8 p.m. ET, "We Derby with Heart" will empower Black women and their squads everywhere to join the movement in honor of their health, beauty and the magic they put into everything they do. The event leverages the historic Kentucky Derby's tradition of fashion, beauty, and wellness as a way for Black women to unapologetically celebrate themselves and practice self-care, ultimately creating positive health outcomes and improved heart health.

"Heart disease is wiping out precious Black lives, and the COVID-19 pandemic has helped shed even more light on the devastating impact of cardiovascular disease in Black communities," said Stephanie Johnson, Vice President of Communications and Product Strategies for Improving Health Outcomes at the AMA. "Through our RTP grassroots work, we aim to provide local support in select communities over the next year in an attempt to build a national scalable and sustainable chronic disease prevention model that is fueled by local activists and supported nationally by the RTP campaign."

The RTP Coalition -- which includes the American Medical Association (AMA), AMA Foundation, American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, National Medical Association and Minority Health Institute -- was formed to reduce these disparities by joining Black women on their journey to improve heart health through preventative action.

In conjunction with the launch of the first RTP Community webpages, the RTP Coalition is joining with the Hortense B. Perry Foundation and the Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to host "We Derby with Heart" on World Hypertension Day.

"This collaboration is so special and so needed," said Eta Omega Chapter President Lynetta Crawford. "The support from the RTP Coalition allows us to give more to students in need of financial aid to pursue their dreams of higher education."

The event will feature a dynamic Heart Table discussion on how Black-owned beauty and lifestyle brands, community organizations and health experts are coming together to support health and wellness for the Black community. Panelists include:

  • Dr. Kelly C. McCants, MD | Cardiologist & Executive Director, Norton Healthcare
  • Jasmyne McCoy | International 2nd Vice President, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.™
  • Desiree Rogers | CEO & Co-Owner, Fashion Fair
  • Aris Singleton | Managing Partner, tgin
  • Michele Thornton Ghee | CEO, EBONY
  • Dr. Rachel Villanueva, MD FACOG| President, National Medical Association

The Heart Table Talk will be moderated by the AMA's Stephanie Johnson, following an immersive dance performance from iconic personal trainer, fitness and dance instructor, and founder of Olivia Fitt, Olivia Bowman Jackson. Johnson will also co-host the event's fashion show with Nicole Mangrum, award-winning hair artist and personal hairstylist for Oprah Winfrey.

Audiences are encouraged to tune in to watch "We Derby with Heart" on Ebony.com and pre-register by joining nearly 55 thousand women who have already taken the Release the Pressure (RTP) Heart Health Pledge.

The pledge aims to provide resources and create a community for Black women, among whom the prevalence of high blood pressure is nearly 40% higher than that of White women, putting them at an even greater risk for heart disease in their lifetime. This includes new RTP community wellness microsites, first launching with Louisville, that serve as a one stop shop for residents to get the latest local news, information and resources available to them to support chronic disease prevention and monitor their blood pressure.

Produced in collaboration with the Ad Council and the Release the Pressure (RTP) Coalition, "We Derby with Heart" represents a historic joint effort across wellness, beauty and media organizations alike to empower Black women to take control of their heart health. The Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.™, Hortense B. Perry Foundation, EBONY, iHeartRadio, Fashion Fair, tgin, Àuda.B, WW and Henry Schein are also collaborators in bringing this effort to improve health outcomes associated with heart disease in Black communities. Support materials for the event were produced by Captivate Marketing Group.

The Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.™ hosts their Derby Scholarship brunch annually in Louisville, Ky., where nearly 45% of Black adults in the state have hypertension. "We Derby with Heart" marks the first time in the organization's history that the event, which also honored their Centennial year in 2022, will stream nationally for Black women and their squads across the country. This year's celebration included a $5,000 donation of event proceeds from chapter leaders to support the Release the Pressure mission to heal broken hearts.

For more information, and to register for "We Derby with Heart" by taking the RTP heart health pledge, visit ReleaseThePressure.org.

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