On September 12, 2015 my husband Baba and I would learn from ER docs that he had stage 4 gastro-esophageal cancer. His response was to share his story and promote wellness with men like himself. Men who believe erroneously in their invincibility and ability to “dodge all the balls”. Together we leaned heavily into our faith and my plant-based / holistic roots. I prayed, cooked and juiced and he acquiesced me at every turn. Mostly. However, it proved not to be enough - soon enough. 46 days later, with me by his side, Baba prematurely transitioned from this life at just 44 years old.
Once the grief began to lift, I was reminded about the important work yet to be done. Healing tools to share. Specifically, with black men. So, in 2017 I launched Litehouse Wellness, which endeavors to meet black men where they are and guide them toward wellness using yoga, meditation, preventative health education and plant-based lifestyle coaching. Litehouse is my love offering in honor of my husband and the many husbands, brothers, fathers and sons who left this earth too soon and for the wives, partners, daughters and mothers who mourn their untimely passing.
The latest CDC stats only confirm that the largely unaddressed state of Black men’s health is critical at best:
Black men live 7.1 years less than other racial groups
Black men experience disproportionately higher death rates in all the leading causes of death
Twice as many Black men (40%) die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to white men
Black men have a higher incidence of diabetes and prostate cancer
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among black men
Another hard but promising truth is that many of the above listed maladies are lifestyle related and therefore PREVENTABLE and if addressed early enough, REVERSIBLE. Unfortunately, due in part to a false, and oftentimes, deadly societal narrative that encourages yet punishes hyper masculinity, contributing to continual engagement in unhealthy behaviors, we are not seeing a concerted effort supporting the wellness of black men. Litehouse Wellness however, is working to help black men dismantle this construct, re-discover balance and therefore show-up fully for themselves, their families and communities. One breath, one forkful, one step at a time.