The hip-hop community felt the immediate impact from the passing of A Tribe Called Quest member, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor. The untimely death took one of hip hop’s greatest voices. The community has also been shaken recently by the passing of the famous hip-hop DJ, Big Kap, who died in February of 2016. He also suffered from diabetes like his Big Apple brethren, Phife. Diabetes has rocked the hip-hop world, but the vibrations hopefully have sent a message to the rest of our men across the nation.
Black Men & Diabetes
Black people suffer disproportionately from diabetes. In fact, we’re 1.7 times more likely to develop the disease in comparison to Whites according to the American Diabetes Association. Despite the gloomy information many leading experts say that Black men do have a few answers for the looming question, “How can Black men stop diabetes?”
Certified Diabetes Educator, Dacia Bryant, believes that Black men have a say concerning the disease that’s taken the lives of greats like Sugar Ray Robinson and Curtis Mayfield to name a few. It starts with education, with openness and understanding from two parties.
“It’s a two way street. Black men have to be ready to receive the information and we in the professional community have to be competent of cultural beliefs, food insecurities and financial constraints,” said Bryant.
Culturally, the stigma of “having a disease” and distrust of the medical community leave Black men at odds with their health. Black men have been used as guinea pigs for the purposes of medical advancement for centuries, dating back to the inhumane and cruel experimentation practices started in slavery. The bodies of Black people have long been used as specimen for larger causes. Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds his Black son of this in his critically acclaimed book, “Between the World and Me.”
“In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage,” Coates wrote.
The second step towards Black men decreasing their chances of developing diabetes is early detection (pre-screening). Some brothers just won’t go to the doctor until it’s too late. Too late is what many experts are worrying about. Diabetes often shows subtle signs and then before you know it, it’s there attacking your body.