When rapper Diablo Flamez and highbrow Toby Gordon travel into a Johns Hopkins Carey Business School together, they make an peculiar pair.
Flamez wears jeans, sneakers and dim sunglasses. Cornrows poke out from underneath a ball cap. Tattoos cover his arms.
Gordon sports a pixie haircut, neat dresses and horn-rimmed glasses.
But when they get in front of their class, they turn a ideal complement.
Hopkins Hospital and Health System, learn a convention together about health disparities centered around a renouned HBO array “The Wire.” Gordon is an associate highbrow in health process and management. Flamez, innate Damion Champ, is paid as a unchanging guest orator and consultant.
Gordon offers investigate and data. Flamez provides a straight-from-the-streets perspective.
Beyond a classroom, a attribute between a rapper and professor, who live in neighborhoods of Baltimore that seem worlds apart, has blossomed into a strong, despite unorthodox, friendship. They pronounce on a phone and revisit regularly. Gordon has also turn tighten with Diablo’s daughter and mother.
The span met during a discussion during Columbia University in 2016.
The conference, like their class, centered around “The Wire.” Flamez, partial of a group that constructed song for seasons 4 and 5, spoke on a row about song from a show. Gordon spoke on a row about regulating a uncover to learn about health disparities, politics and amicable issues.
The highbrow asked a rapper to pronounce to her Hopkins category behind in Baltimore. That eventually led to slight appearances. The span has taught 10 seminars together given assembly in 2016.
“He brings a life-long viewpoint of vital in these neighborhoods where there are these health problems, like food deserts and high rates of ongoing conditions,” Gordon said. “He gives a really genuine life view.”
Flamez see that viewpoint as an vicious member in a bid to urge open health in bankrupt communities. He says health professionals mostly don’t know a people they’re perplexing to help.
“Just since we move broccoli into a hood doesn’t meant people are automatically going to eat it,” he likes to say. “Broccoli is nasty. You have to be realistic.”
Students contend they conclude a viewpoint Flamez brings to a class. Some have reached out to him outward of category to get personal tours of Baltimore.
Hillary Holmes, 25, says conference from people such as Flamez is a vicious partial of a training experience.
“It helps to have him adult there and know that he grew adult with some of this, and is not only somebody who is giving us secondhand information,” she said.
Emily O’Donnell, 28, agreed.
“It provides an choice perspective,” she said.
During one open class, Flamez — wearing a sunglasses he frequency removes in public, sat during a front of a category as Gordon talked about a day’s lesson.
Gordon showed a category clips and discussed scenes from “The Wire.” In one, a impression Bubbles, a recuperating drug addict, sits on a park dais and plucks out facial hairs. A tyro points out that that could be a pointer of an highlight disorder, that could branch from childhood trauma.
Gordon and Flamez compared a health statistics of their neighborhoods. Druid Heights, where Flamez lives, has some of a city’s misfortune health outcomes and mankind rates. Roland Park, where Gordon lives, has some of a best.
It is only one instance of how opposite their lives are.
Flamez grew adult in East Baltimore nearby Clifton Park. It was a early days of hip-hop music; he listened to LL Cool J and Run DMC. He graduated from Northern High School. He didn’t go to college, though incited his adore of song into a solid internal swat career. He done his swat entrance during a foe during Morgan State University.
Gordon was innate in Park Heights nearby Pimlico Race Course. Her mom died when she was 6; Gordon lived for a time with her grandmother. At a immature age she would play sanatorium administrator. She warranted a bachelor’s grade during a University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in health process and government during Hopkins.
Gordon and Flamez’ loyalty grown naturally. Gordon would collect Flamez adult from his rowhome unit in West Baltimore for class. Once he invited her up, and shortly Gordon was creation unchanging visits.
She has taken to his daughter, 8-year-old Ayanti — she takes chocolate to a lady and reads and plays games with her.
When Ayanti’s mom died unexpected from complications associated to hypertension, Flamez battled for custody. Gordon sat with him during justice hearings and wrote a minute on his behalf.
She felt a tie to a girl, she says, since she mislaid her possess mom young.
The dual also bicker, sometimes. Flamez hates when Gordon tells a outspoken, assured rapper to tinge it down.
“We strike heads,” Flamez said. “We are always fighting, since we can do that when we are friends.”
Gordon is structured and organized. Flamez is some-more of a giveaway spirit. They fun that she has turn his secretary to keep him on track. He once went on a outing and wasn’t approaching to get behind until right before a filming. Gordon disturbed bad winter continue competence check his return. They went behind and forth; and and finally she darted out of his apartment, exasperated.
“I told him we am no longer a secretary,” she said.
Flamez went on his outing and returned in time, though was tired. The dual reconciled.
Flamez was once doubtful of Gordon’s motives. He wanted to make certain she wasn’t only temporarily feeling with black Baltimore culture.
So he sent her to get drink during a dilemma store with a plexiglass window during a counter. She would have to try past empty houses and travel people.
“I wanted to see if she would be down,” Flamez said.
The exam didn’t seem to worry Gordon. She came behind with dual Natty Daddys, a drink with a high ethanol calm that she had never tried.
“I was astounded it tasted OK,” she reported. “I drank about half since it was potent.”
Gordon also gained a newfound honour from Flamez.
They contend they have schooled from any other.
He has taught her a few things about a streets, like explaining how people use empty houses to store drugs. She has schooled about a song attention by unresolved out with Diablo during a studios of Darkroom Productions, where he creates his music.