(BlackDoctor.org) — Musiq Soulchild. The Grammy Award-nominated R&B/soul singer-songwriter is well-known for blending together R&B, soul, funk, blues, jazz, hip-hop and gospel to form his own unique style. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is also known for having a deep respect for the legacy and traditions of past artists, which not only inspired his name…but also his thoughtful appreciation of life.
BlackDoctor.org recently had the privilege of talking with Musiq on the heels of his most recent album release, Musiqinthemajiq, about how he became a breast cancer ambassador and his unique challenges to staying healthy.
BDO: Happy belated birthday! What are you most thankful for at this stage of your life?
MS: Thank you, I appreciate that. I’m happy to be alive. To be able to do things I enjoy, to be able to learn, even from my mistakes, and to enhance my perspective on life. Just being alive is such a gift.
BDO: Did you have cake? What is your favorite not-so-healthy, guilty pleasure food?
MS: I actually had a lot of cake. All different types of cakes. My brother even made me a red velvet cake…yeah, I had a lot of cake. My favorite unhealthy food would have to be buffalo wings. I need all the wrong stuff…it’s not just about it being deep-fried, I need the wings to be battered in flour, I need the sauce, and I’ve got to have French fries and a soda, too.
BDO: What kind of soda?
MS: A Coke.
BDO: So then, what about your favorite healthy food?
MS: Well, first, I have to say that even though I don’t drink enough of it, water is a precious thing. As far as my favorite healthy foods, I’d say anything that I can use to make a salad out of: lettuce, spinach, olive oil, even things you don’t necessarily associate with salads, like cabbage or corn. I like adding a protein, maybe some salmon or baked chicken or shrimp or scallops. Not too much dressing or seasonings. I say keep it clean and lean!
BDO: Nice! Okay, I definitely want to hear more about your personal approach to health, but before that, I want to talk a little about your breast cancer support. As a celebrity, there are so many different causes you can put your name behind to raise awareness…so why breast cancer? Why the Circle of Promise?
MS: It all actually happened very organically. I didn’t really sit down and say, “I’m going to do something for breast cancer.” It came about through a series of events connected to shooting the video for Yes. We were all brainstorming ideas, one thing led to another. We needed a heartfelt, urgent story that people of different generations could identify with, an opportunity to express how much I care. There was one idea, then another idea, then someone said “how about breast cancer?” and that was it. Then, through the video, we got to talking to Circle of Hope, and they said that they wanted to make me an ambassador. The way I see it is, whatever my celebrity can to do help people have greater awareness and to survive, that’s great.
BDO: As a Circle of Hope ambassador, what have you learned so far?
MS: African American women maybe aren’t getting breast cancer as much as other women, but they have a higher mortality rate. And men can get breast cancer, too. I didn’t know that. It’s not getting treated on time, they’re not getting tested, there’s a lack of information, there are fears…these are not positive things. Part of my responsibility is to help motivate women, to help them seek out the education they need, to understand that the sooner you can get the information, the better, the healthier they’ll be.
BDO: Unfortunately, breast cancer isn’t the only health issue that’s damaging the Black community. Diabetes, heart disease, certain other types of cancers, there are many health disparities hurting us. Are there any conditions that run in your family?
MS: I would have to say diabetes. My great grandmother had it, and she ended up having to have her foot amputated – it got pretty bad. Personally, though, I think everybody on this Earth is one family. Maybe many of us don’t see it that way, but we are. Conditions that affect one person have a way of affecting others, even if they don’t know them personally. It’s funny – other animals see us all as human, regardless of color or country. But we take those differences and allow them to divide us, instead of increasing our interest in each other.