Online show, headlined by Angela Bassett, takes on Type 2 diabetes

Angela Bassett (Photo by D'Andre Michael)
Angela Bassett hosted a virtual show May 25 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. (Photo by D'Andre Michael)

Taking aim at Type 2 diabetes, actress Angela Bassett headlined an evening of entertainment, inspiration and health empowerment rooted in Black culture on May 25.

The free, virtual show, from Harlem's World-Famous Apollo Theater, can be viewed at DiabetesTheater.org. Participants also can download a discussion guide and other diabetes-related information and resources.

The show is a joint project of the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association. Know Diabetes by Heart helps people with diabetes, their loved ones and health care professionals manage the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Bassett teamed up with the two organizations to launch Know Diabetes by Heart after losing her mother to heart failure related to Type 2 diabetes. For the show, Bassett was host and performed an original monologue based on her family's experience.

"We know our Black brothers and sisters too often face a higher burden of illness. But we also know education, advocacy and structural change can make a difference," Bassett says. "Whether you live with diabetes, love someone with diabetes or have lost someone to diabetes, heart disease or stroke, you'll relate to something in this show."

The event also features two monologues inspired by turning points in the health of Know Diabetes by Heart national ambassadors Sarah Bryant and Anthony Wilson. The program includes entertainment by Howard University alumna Sage Chase, a jazz ensemble and dance, plus conversations about overcoming diabetes, heart disease and stroke in families and the community.

Type 2 diabetes increases people's risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and damage to the kidneys, among other complications. But by adopting a healthy lifestyle and treating all related conditions, most people with diabetes can avoid or postpone these problems.

Founding sponsors of Know Diabetes by Heart are the Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company Diabetes Alliance; Novo Nordisk; and national sponsors are Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Bayer.