It was funny how I met Torrence Hatch, a.k.a Lil
Boosie. I was participating in a parade
in Baton Rouge, LA and I saw one of my fathers former employees, a friend of
the family, and someone that I love like a mother.
Doc, its T-Pam!
Throw me some beads. Ms. Pam
Sterling (T-Pam) is one of the most beautiful people in the world with a heart
of gold. She is also one of the few people in this world who was not/is not
intimidated by my father. I need to talk to you. I want to bring my nephew in for an
appointment. He has diabetes!
No problem T. You know I got you, I replied.
Within two weeks, Lil Boosie showed up my office with his
mother Connie Hatch and T-Pam, and the friendship began.
As popular as he is in the Baton Rouge and all over the
country now, Lil Boosie is no different than the 3.2 million African-Americans
age 20 and older in this country who are living with this diabetes.
Diabetes! I hate that
word, especially as it relates to African-Americans. Here are some other
shocking numbers that may explain my disgust with the disease which can cause
blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease and stroke, and
irreversible nerve damage:
African Americans are two times more likely to have
diabetes than non-Hispanic whites25% of African Americans ages 65 to 74 have diabetesOne in four African-American women over age 55 have this
Time to learn more about the disease that is take the limbs,
life and love out of our country like a serial killer.
It took a while to pin Lil Boosie down for this interview.
He is constantly on the grind and hardly ever sits still. My video man,
photographer and good friend, Sean Griffin and I pulled up at Lil Boosies home
around 6:30pm three days before Easter. There were two U-Haul trucks in the
driveway and bicycles all over the front yard.
T-Pam met us at the door. When we walked in, large bags met
us and were being filled with clothes. Boosie was speaking to a film crew and
waiting on Foxx and Big Head, two of Trill Entertainments finest, to arrive so
they could finish shooting the last scene in his movie Ghetto Times at his home.
Doc, come meet Mike, he shouted out. I walked into the kitchen looking out at his
newly built swimming pool and there, sitting at the kitchen table was one of my
favorite comedians, Mike Epps.
This is my doctor Mike, he said. I couldnt help but laugh
and think about all the crazy roles Epps has played. Epps wanted to stay for
the interview, but was getting ready for his tour, so he left shortly after we
met. I kissed Lil Boosies mom and all his beautiful aunts on the cheek, shook
hands with all the boys, kicked it with Heavy D (his favorite Uncle) for a minute,
and played with his beautiful daughter.
Finally, Sean and I headed upstairs past the beautiful
playroom and through the home theater (off the chain!) to his home studio to
discuss our serious topic.
AllHipHop.com: Man, I
really appreciate this. First of all, I come to the crib, pull in the drive way,
and you have about 1500 bicycles out there and clothes all over the house
Whats going on with that?
Lil Boosie: We have
an Easter Egg Hunt and give away. Ive been doing this every year in honor of
my boy Ivy who was killed. He used to do this community event and Im going to
keep it going in his honor. We give away like $20,000 dollars worth of bikes,
$15,000 dollars worth of clothes, $15,000 dollars worth of food like BBQ and
crawfish; the finders of the silver, gold, and platinum egg get $250, $500, and
We just giving back to the community. [Last I heard, he
spent well over $55,000] The kids have
to bring their grades out on Sunday morning. If they are good, they get a
bike. If they are not so good, they
probably still get a bike. If they are terrible, they get a toy. T-Pam and momma aint that nice. [laughs] Really,
Im just doing this for blessings and to make other people smile. Im blessed
and Im happy. I got the money to do this and it needs to be done.
word is that they will have children with disabilities at the event and some
kids that never had a bike. Man, thats a beautiful thing. Now you said it
needs to be done. What needs to be
done? You mean uplift the community?
Lil Boosie: Yeah, Im really doing this for the community
showing my supporters I have a heart and love for all those who support me.
AllHipHop.com: Real talk!
When I talk to the young students and the older folks in the community,
many of them dont know the real Lil Boosie; they dont know about all of the
good things you do; too much emphasis on the negative.
Lil Boosie: Yep! Im going to do me though Doc. Cant worry
about the haters.
AllHipHop.com: So let us get to what we really came to talk
about – diabetes! Its killing African-Americans! Not only is it killing us, but also it is a
major cause of disability. You have been
diabetic for how long?
Lil Boosie: I been diagnosed with type one diabetes four and
a half years now; I got diagnosed when I was 20, and you know its been a
struggle for me. As the years go on though, I learn more about the disease and
I get better with it, you know.
take pills and you are on the needle?
Lil Boosie: Yeah, Im taking a pill called Actos and Im on
that 70/30 also.
AllHipHop.com: So you are talking about insulin when you say
Lil Boosie: Yeah, the needle Doc. Have to give myself shots
at least twice a day and check my sugar as well.
AllHipHop.com: You have to check your sugar and give
yourself shots every day? So how do you deal with needles on a daily basis?
Lil Boosie: It gets
old, but I know the importance of taking care of myself. You know really I just
keep fresh alcohol pads and I have to alternate spots on my body where I give
myself insulin injections. I use to get knots under my skin that were painful,
so now I go to my arm one day, stomach the next
the difference in type one diabetes and type two diabetes?
Lil Boosie: Well basically I have type one, which happens,
in general in younger patients. [Type
one diabetics] dont make insulin, which helps bring down your blood
sugar. Older people in general get type
two diabetes; they make insulin but the body cant use it properly. Thats the way I understand it. If Im wrong, then blame yourself cause you
told me. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: Im a
damn good teacher. [laughs] So, do you
ever have days where you say, Im tired of this, Im not dealing with this, Im
not going to eat right or exercise?
Lil Boosie: [smiles] Yeah man, I have days when its like
all falling down on me. If I like go two to three weeks of taking care of
myself, that one day I slip, I might get sick. You know I have to really be on
it and the lifestyle I have – this lifestyle Im surrounded by, you know, I
feel like I need more people around to help me with this. Its hard Doc. You
know those couple of nights I had to call you when Im on the road feeling bad;
sh*t man, I was down. But its all good when I take care of myself.
AllHipHop.com: How does it feel to be young, Black, living
with diabetes and being able to speak out about it to young people?
Lil Boosie: At first it was like, how am I going to accept
it? But now I talk about the disease and motivate other diabetics to take care
of themselves and prolong their lives.
Its like a blessing; at first it felt like a curse, but now, to me its
like a blessing. Its millions of people
with this disease and Im a big influence to a lot of people. So, if I can help
people to live longer by talking about it, then Im going to keep doing it.
AllHipHop.com: Do you
think it is important that artist speak out about health issues?
Lil Boosie: I think
its very important! Especially when it
comes to Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop influences children and adults. I feel like if you
have the position or the power to make people listen to you, you should do it
in a positive way with your music and your voice.
next for Lil Boosie?
Lil Boosie: I got my
album coming out called Return of Boosie
Badd Azz; I got my movie coming out Ghetto
Stories; Im shopping clothing line deals, I just aint got the check yet [smiles
and laughs]; waiting on somebody to cut the check; and Im just working harder
than every body.
I got my own in-house studio, putting out mix tapes. Im
doing my own publishing and producing my own music. Right now Im just ahead of
the game cause Im on demand for shows. I get a lot of show money.
AllHipHop.com: Thats whats up! Who is your favorite artist
in the game?
Lil Boosie: Ice Cube! See how Im doing movies? Look what
Cube did. Yeah, he was doing gangsta rap, but he was also using his mind. He
didnt just rap his way through it he used his mind.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, Cube did and is still doing his thing. He
has a new album coming out. Im still
tripping on Mike Epps in your kitchen, thats a funny dude. [laughs] Well homie, anything else you want to say to
those with diabetes and to those who are trying to come up in this music game?
Lil Boosie: I know this, diabetes is not HIV; its not AIDS.
Take care of yourself, keep your sugar under control, and you can live better
and longer. Keep your head up and take pride in your self. Dont feel like you
are alone with diabetes. God has blessed you, so take pride in your self.
As far as music, you got to be dedicated. You got to want it
more than anybody. You have to be talented and use your talent; learn how to
put music together, learn how to carry yourself around people, and learn and
live like you are a superstar. Believe that sh*t! Plus there is stuff you cant do when you get
to this level. Listen to those around you who have been in the game.
Watch Tha Hip Hop Doc and Lil Boosie interview here:
For more information
on diabetes go to the website www.diabetes.org
or shoot me an email at DrRani@h2doc.com.