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Message from the King

This one has hit me hard. It has knocked the wind out of me like a sucker punch to the gut. The death of our great leader and King at a time when we are under such a brutal assault could not have come at a worse time. As I sat at my dining table, delightfully consuming my favorite meal and a very healthy one at that, I turned on the TV only to see another great man Don Lemon, announcing the death of our King, Chadwick Boseman.

For the one or two of you who may not know, Chadwick, brilliantly portrayed our first major superhero of African descent, the mythical Black Panther. He depicted an inspirational figure who led a nation free of prejudice, discrimination and hate and one in which people of colour were free from the pandemic of discrimination currently gripping us. Black Panther’s death also comes the night after I had one of the most emotional conversations with my friend Tricia about race and how it is affecting us as a people. Tricia phoned to tell me that she was not allowing her son to accept a scholarship to a university in Louisiana but was opting instead to pay for another college in a “safer” part of the USA.

Although her business is closed due to the pandemic, she is making this tough choice because as she put it, “My son has my mouth and my temper, I just know he will get in trouble.” I know she was calling me for me to be the “voice of reason” and to convince her that she was overreacting. But how could I do that? How could I take emotions out of a mother's decision to protect her only child? So I simply listened and told her to pray about it. Her predicament resonated with me so strongly that I asked her if I could write about it, to which she quickly said, “Yes! Some other mother is going through the same thing I am.”

The racial injustice currently being highlighted in America’s media is a result of the fact that too many white people have not changed their feelings about black and brown people. Civil rights scholars say the ideals and rights in the Civil Rights Act and subsequent civil rights reforms have not been accepted but merely tolerated. Meaning that real reform has probably not taken place, hence real behavioral change cannot happen. If you do not believe a man or woman of color is equal to you, then they won’t be treated with equality. If you believe that a man of color is dangerous because of inherent fear, not because of his actions then he will always be a threat, whether or not he is threatening.

The death of Chadwick Boseman, at only 43 years old, also brings into focus another assault currently being unleashed on the black population in the USA and the Caribbean in particular. The war our great King, Black Panther was fighting along with the rest of us is the real pandemic we are facing. I am not speaking about COVID, although we are under assault from COVID twice as much as any other race,but the war against non-communicable diseases. In fact it was an NCD, which ended up taking down our great leader, Black Panther.

NCDs are taking too many lives too early and causing too many to live less than optimal lives. They are robbing us of people who are still in their prime and hampering and reducing the productivity, creativity and quality of life for too many of us. It is my view that the death of the “King” is also a Message from the King. His valiant fight was one which we can all learn from.

The lessons are clear. The King sent us the following message:

  1. You can battle against all odds;

  2. 2. Don’t let NCDs or any other ailment or setback stop you from achieving; and

Number three is from one of my dear friends in New York. When I asked her how she has been and how COVID has treated her she said: it has taught her to:

  1. 3. Live Urgently and Fully!

Above all, please remember that the pandemic of NCDs is more devastating than COVID or any other thing we are facing in our community.


  1. Eat whole “real food” not processed;

  2. You don’t have to eat meat with every meal;

  3. I should not have to tell you but I will anyway, smoking is toxic to your lungs, all smoke including hookah and weed;

  4. Reduce alcohol as much as you can, even if you switch to a weaker drink and you drink fewer days in the week;

  5. Make time to exercise at least 5 days per week for 30 mins;

  6. Pray and meditate everyday and believe that your prayers will be answered; and last but definitely not least

  7. Get an annual medical… You get your car serviced at least two to three times a year, why wouldn’t you get your body checked?

What we may need now is not just a message from the King but a Wakanda. What would this Wakanda look like and how would it work? Look out for the details in my next article!

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