'If You're Weak, There's Someone Who Can Be Strong for You': Angela Bassett Honors Her Mother and Continues the Battle for Black Health

As Angela Bassett tells it, her mother, Betty Jane Bassett, was “grand in her carriage.”

Our forever Queen Mother reflects on her very own Queen Mother: “The ideas that she had for her daughters,” Bassett continued. “She expected you to do it—to give your best at all times. And that’s exactly what she expected of herself. I miss her every day.”

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Sadly, Betty Jane Bassett died in 2014 after losing a battle to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes—two chronic illnesses that are inextricably connected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have conditions that increase the risk for heart disease. But the complications of Type 2 diabetes aren’t limited to heart disease—over time diabetes can lead to kidney damage (causing a patient to require dialysis), or amputations—the list goes on.

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And Type 2 diabetes is an illness that slams the Black community.

Now Bassett is using her platform to spread awareness around Type 2 diabetes, and is joining forces with Know Diabetes by Heart. This year, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association will host a virtual night of performances at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. The event will take place on May 25 at 8 p.m. ET, streaming from DiabetesTheater.org.

As Bassett is a picture of health—with 20- and 30-year-olds wishing that they looked like the queen—we asked about her message to Black women: How does one begin (and stick to) a wellness journey of body, mind and spirit?

“Consistency is key. We appreciate the consistency in our relationships, with our partners, with our children, with our loved ones, with the world,” Bassett said. “Be an advocate for others. If you’re weak, there’s someone who can be strong for you, who can hold you up.”

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See our entire conversation with the incomparable Angela Bassett above.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

DISCUSSION

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I'mSofaKingSickofWonderBread

It’s great that she’s doing this.

It’s bad enough that you have to have a doctorate in nutrition to be able to just figure out what to eat that won’t eventually kill you unnaturally, but even most doctors and too many diabetes-information sources are giving out bad information for people fighting diabetes.

To anyone who is struggling, I highly recommend the book The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein. I don’t follow it to the letter because I’m vegan, but it really provided so much insight that really went farther than anything else to help me get better control over my (Type 1) blood sugar. And it’s so good that I think every person could benefit from the dietary information, diabetic or not.

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