column for Honey Magazine. this is straight from honeymag.com:Rocsi’sCheck out 106 & Park host,
When the United Service Organization (USO) invited me to visit troops in Germany, I decided to go because I knew a lot of friends who had served in the military. They are fighting for our freedom and I wanted to give back. I stayed at the Ramstein Military Base – which is one of the most important bases in the world. That’s where a lot of soldiers go before and after tours of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq. Because of that, there’s a large mix of international soldiers, from Americans to Brits to Germans – and a lot of families and children. But it still looks and feels just like your neighborhood, with schools, rec-centers and offices.
The soldiers and families I met were so appreciative of the visit and kept saying, “Thank you for coming and thank you for showing that you care.” But I thanked them – they left a huge impression on me. I spent a lot of my time kicking it, eating and talking with wounded soldiers. I also visited students at the different schools on the base. Each one had a program called “Smart Girls Club,” and it was while sitting in on one of their discussions that the topic of body image came up.
I announced my battle with anorexia last summer on 106 & Park; so it was crazy to hear the girls talk about the same things I struggled with when I was just a little bit older than them. There are so many triggers for eating disorders. For me it started with an athletic thing, I was trying to be skinnier to be a flyer for the cheer leading squad. Mentally, I started to think I was too fat. I thought I was the definition of being overweight. For good or bad, my issue was never about men. It was never about a guy for me even to this day. I forgot who said it [but]: “you can be snaggled-toothed, cross-eyed, crazy-haired and there’s still someone out there who loves you. But you have to love yourself first.”
They opened up about their own body image struggles. What struck me about the group is, it wasn’t just Black girls, or Spanish girls or White girls – [the group] was diverse. It sounds so cliche, but I don’t think a lot of people know that everyone suffers [with] what’s looked at as a “white” disease. Women of color battle with body issues too. I deal with mine everyday.
I think its not something you can just “get over.” You have to finally feel secure with yourself. It’s about self-esteem and if you are not healthy with your self-esteem it’s something you never really get over. I don’t know if it’s our society that makes us that way. But I don’t believe only the media [should be] blamed, it starts at home when your parents say things like “Don’t eat too much!” or “You’re too fat or too skinny!”
That discussion and my time with soldiers has inspired me to go back again. I’d love to do a “Rocsi Presents” USO Tour and touch those cities that a lot of people don’t visit like Guam, Italy, or even Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m trying to get more hip-hop artists to go out there and visit. Some people may be surprised by these plans, but I’ve always been a philanthropic person. About 85% of the things I did before 106 & Park were based on giving back.
Through my Rocstar Foundation, I’ve helped rebuild communities in my native New Orleans. But that doesn’t get covered. It seems like people never want to hear about the good. That doesn’t stop me and it shouldn’t stop you. It’s easy to show love to different groups, especially our wounded soldiers. You can volunteer with your local USO chapter or any of your local veteran stations. You don’t have to go overseas. There are plenty of wounded soldiers that live right on our soil.
As told to Zandile Blay