The act of self-isolation has permeated the lives of human beings all over the globe. It is now a part of our conversations, our realities and our international lexicon. Everyone knows what it means, we instinctively know how to do it as it has become a means for survival.

Since March 2020, COVID-19 has taken the lives of countless people, some very wealthy, many poor, who did not have the luxury of health care or the true understanding of the ravaging threat the disease had on their body and those close to them.

Now, we face 2021 with the possibility of a vaccine, which for the Black community raises concerns as we remember the tragedy of the Tuskegee project and leaves us with an uncomfortable choice of whether we want to expose ourselves to Western medical techniques that have disgustingly worked towards furthering the white supremacist agenda. This is not to negate the wonderful, fearless and compassionate health care workers who toiled on the ground floor and put their own lives at risk across the United States. But on a federal level, the question looms if the vaccine can be trusted to keep marginalized people safe.

In my own life, I attempt to live as simply and quietly as possible. I have a small number of people who I interact with, with care and social distance. One of these people is New York native and social entrepreneur Terrance Frazier.

After graduating from Morgan State University, Terrance stayed in Baltimore City and created a men’s clothing brand and boutique, City of Gods, along with creating affiliations with powerful Black companies and brands such as Roc Nation. The clothes he designs are attractive and offer the promise of a Black men’s lifestyle of prestige and street flair. He’s one of my mentors and we talk about different approaches to supporting our communities and staying as humble, spiritual and realistic as possible.

We had a prophetic conversation about Black health and wellness around this time last year. He expressed:

“I think the biggest concerns are us [not] being able to identify what treatment we need for [diagnosis]. A lot of treatments that we have today are obsolete, and we’re trying to experiment with different ways of healing. And we don’t quite know what’s the new fit for the new problems that we’re trying to conquer, which are mental health, the diseases that are taking Black people out. When I say ‘out,’ I mean their lives are chronically being jeopardized by the same generational illnesses. I’m really looking at how we can put people in touch with the right healers and medicine in order to get results.

“You look at food deserts to generational health concerns that are being passed down, habits that are not being broken, and the food that we are eating today is depleted of the minerals and vitamins necessary for combating illness. So, the body is starving for nutrition. We are not getting access to foods that are going to help us heal. Exercise is not only important, but the right thinking is what we need to tackle. We’ve got to work down to the cellular level. Healing the body and knowing how to repair damaged cells, getting out toxins and fasting, and eating right, there has to be a holistic approach. It can’t just be Westernized medicine. There has to be [an] Eastern approach, a holistic approach, there has to be a mental approach.

“When you look at empowerment, it needs to take place at the state and local level. They have to promote healthy lifestyles. Funding needs to be millions of dollars. Recreation centers, the people who are actually getting money from the community need to give back. We need to hold the stores accountable that are selling the products that are detrimental to us. We’re going to identify what is detrimental in these establishments. We can help community activists stage awareness camps or seminars that teach this new information. We constantly need to be looking at ways in which the community can get involved and make these changes, especially the political process to corporations. So, it’s going to take people like myself who are influencers to brand this as a crisis. We’ve got to do something about it. We’ve got to save lives. When we stamp it as a crisis, it will get funding and support.”

You can buy City of Gods clothing at Frazier is also a founder of Dogon Games, which offers education to future Black gamers, coders and tech professionals.

Instagram: @acityofgods