BB: We’re in denial, thinking it can’t happen to us. We don’t understand how young we are and how young it can really happen. Not using anyone as an example, but we lost some real soldiers at young ages. Cats dying in their 20s, 30s and 40s should be rare. We’re becoming immune to people dying young.
Hopefully that will serve as a wake-up call to anyone who is still here. I don’t want to say that their deaths should serve as an example, because I don’t know anything about how those guys took care of themselves. But I know what I do wrong, and you know what you are doing wrong. We don’t go to the doctor as much as we should. Do we need to put all of our trust in a doctor? No, but we should at least grab some knowledge about what is going on with your body.
I tell people that your life is like a credit card: Whether it’s drinking, smoking, unsafe sex, eating or just wild living, you can keep charging and charging and charging, but one day that statement is going to come in. And what we have to ask ourselves is, what is going to be the price we have to pay?
TR: What kind of feedback are you getting from your fans about your book?
BB: I keep hearing the word “inspirational,” and that’s crazy. You never write a book and think, “I’m going to inspire people.” But it’s not a weight-loss book, you know. I talk about my single mother, who had seven kids. There was no dad around; we were homeless at points and had no money. But we were affluent with love and hugs.
So it’s that book that’s, like, if you’re morbidly obese, OK. If you’re just trying to get somewhere in life, then OK. It’s about overcoming obstacles and knowing how to celebrate life. And I’m not speaking from a mountaintop. I’m also speaking to me when I speak to other people.
Akoto Ofori-Atta is The Root’s assistant editor.