The 22-year-old rapper and America’s Best Dance Crew judge may project a tough image, but Lil Mama shows her more vulnerable side with her work to support breast cancer research and awareness. Here’s what the musician wants you to know about her recent projects, including how she uses her music to help others.
What new music have you been working on?
I recently released “NY, NY, LA, LA” with Snoop Dogg and “Hustler Girl” which is a song that celebrates hardworking women everywhere.
Tell us more about your work with the Tigerlily Foundation to support breast cancer research.
After my mom passed away [in 2007], I wanted to use my voice to raise awareness. I’m working with World Music for the Cure which will support the Tigerlily Foundation. I’m working on new music for the CD, and the proceeds from it will go towards breast cancer research.
You lost your mom to breast cancer at a young age. How did this affect you in terms of how you think about your health and lifestyle?
It definitely made me eat differently. When my mother was diagnosed, she changed her diet and ate more vegetables, replaced red meats with chicken and fish and had to be more strict with herself. I realized I have to do that, too. I try to eat well and exercise to be healthy.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, what message do you want to give to your fans and other young women?
I want to encourage young women to check themselves regularly. If you think there’s something wrong, get checked out.
Is this kind of advocacy work something you plan to pursue in the future? Do you see yourself doing other projects to benefit breast cancer research and awareness?
Definitely. I want to use my celebrity to be a role model. I want to use my voice and let others know that I know what they’re going through. I remember being at the hospital with my mom and seeing other families there, too. It’s scary not to know what the next step might be, so I want to help others going through that tough time.
From your personal experience with breast cancer, what are the biggest lessons you’ve learned that you want others to know?
Celebrate any moment that you can with your loved ones. If you know any woman—your mom, sister, aunt, friend—that’s suffering from breast cancer, spend time with them whenever you can. Be there for them, even if they say they don’t need you to. You need to cherish those moments.
I want young women to be more aware of their health—whether it’s through mind, body or spirit. Everything you do affects your health; find time to exercise, eat well and take care of yourself.