Dame Dash: "Diabetes Makes Me a Superhero"

Dame Dash:
You probably know Damon Dash from his days as co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records alongside Jay-Z and Kareem Burke. If you don’t know him from his record label expertise, then perhaps you know of Dame from his stint running an art gallery, his initial Rocawear clothing line and subsequent—and current—street style, Poppington, or his latest venture with his eponymously-named streaming service and production company.

What you may not know is that Dame Dash also lives with type 1 diabetes.
"Before I was diagnosed with diabetes at 15 years old, I went about a month or two just going to the bathroom non-stop and losing weight. Magic Johnson had just been diagnosed with AIDS, so that’s what I thought I had. I was scared to even go to the doctor. I thought I was going to die.

"When the doctor finally told me I had diabetes, I was actually really happy and I’ve been celebrating ever since. That’s because once I knew I could stick a needle in my leg and feel better, I was straight."

Dame is no stranger to the spotlight. In fact, he’s been thriving in it for over two decades. And these days, he’s using it to benefit others—others also living with diabetes.

Lately, the director-producer-entrepreneur can be found on Instagram Live checking his blood sugar, inserting his Dexcom, or simply relaying to the rest of the world what everyday-life looks like with diabetes.

And, in true Dame fashion, he always makes it look enviable.

"I was never the guy who was teased for having diabetes. I made diabetes look cool. Everybody wanted diabetes because I had it. Just sticking a needle in my leg in front of everybody showed people that I was being responsible for my health.

"Showing that kind of discipline made me look stronger, not weaker. What I learned when I was younger is when you roll with whatever imperfection you have, people actually admire you."

The king of content is now using his personal brand to elevate life with diabetes. For too long, Dame says, he wanted to include diabetes in his world.

 But others simply didn’t want to talk about it or hear it. In this latest renaissance, though, Dame is flipping his own script. With other platforms like Dash Diabetes Network, he’s helping others through the shame, stigma, and struggle of diabetes.

"Everything I’ve done, from being a music executive, entrepreneur, film producer, director, and actor, I’ve done with diabetes. It’s a 24-hour a day thing, but it has become my 'normal.'

"I feel like diabetes makes me a superhero. I know how to control my health really well and because of that, I can live the life I want to live. That makes me look forward to opening my eyes every day.

"My reality is better than my dreams."
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Mary Elizabeth Adams
Feb 04, 2021

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