The recent and sudden passing of John Singleton is a tragic loss for the cinematic community and his fans from across the globe. When young Black people watched “Boyz n the Hood,” they saw elements of themselves, their neighborhood, their struggles and their triumphs on screen for the world to see. John Singleton’s brilliance continued for roughly 30 years, and the careers he helped launch and the mentorship he provided in Hollywood will never be forgotten. Hence, his untimely death due to a stroke is felt by so many generations of moviegoers and especially Black Americans who grew up watching (and quoting) his thought-provoking movies.
As we process the loss of such a talent, the Singleton family has been vocal about raising awareness in the Black community pertaining to hypertension and overall health. There are so many silent killers in our community, from heart disease and hypertension to various types of cancers. Unfortunately, the sordid and racist history of the medical profession has made some members of our community stay away from licensed medical professionals. For others, it is the lack of health care and the expense related to getting preemptive check-ups. There is also another group of people who have stayed away from physicals for so long knowing something is “not right.” The mere thought of going to a doctor and having their worse fears confirmed is yet another reason why they stay away from the doctor’s office.
Whatever the case may be, I do implore our readers to get an annual checkup if possible. We all need to make sure our cholesterol and blood pressure are under control. For men, prostate screenings are a necessity. For women, it is important that gynecological exams and mammograms are a part of our annual health regiment, especially if you are above a certain age. For so many of us, Type II diabetes is also a common ailment in our families. It is so important we catch signs and symptoms early so that we can make adjustments in our lifestyle and diet when necessary. In addition to our annual physicals, it is important to make sure we see a dentist if possible to make sure minor ailments do not become painful and costly problems if left unattended to.
I so appreciate the Singelton family raising awareness about the effects of hypertension during their difficult time. We can honor the legacy of John Singleton by making sure we make our physical and mental health a priority moving forward. Schedule your appointments and take a friend or loved one to ease your nerves if necessary. Allow yourself a small treat once you have completed your checkup. You owe it to yourself and those who love you to make your health a priority.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the new podcast FAQ-NYC, and the host of The Aftermath and The Counter on Ozy.com.