So it's 7:28 in the morning and I haven't slept (no reason, just haven't), and I feel somehow compelled to write about Gerald Levert's death. So...this is me writing about it. I mean, I have nothing important or radically different to say. I mean, it is fucked up cuz dude was only 40 and he seemed like good people. (Since I had no friends, I watched a lot of BET back in the day [before it became ass central] and Gerald used to stay on the Video Soul couch talking to Donnie Simpson; he always seemed like a cool dude, no pretensions or big head or anything.) It's sad. I know women over forty (and prematurely old chicks like me) everywhere are devastated. He was even working on losing weight, eating healthier and working out. He was a fantastic performer; you could always count on Gerald to show up to an event decked out in a sparkly and/or metallic outfit and to include in his performance: 1) the emphatic jumping motion to highlight a particular soulful run, 2) the two-minute r&b troubadour riff, including such phrases as BAY-BEH!, OOOOHHHH!, MMMM HMMM! and other such fantastic notes and 3) at least one roll on the stage (for good measure, of course). Dude was raw.
I guess I'm a little annoyed since my other dude Luther (who I'm listening to right now) died from some slipshod eating type dealie (stroke-Luther loved him some fried chicken, truth) too, and this shit is kinda avoidable. I mean Luther had just hit 50 (sorta, he was 54) and Gerald was 40. In this day and age, where Willie Nelson can creak ever onward towards absolute moth-eaten senescence, I'm sure heart attacks and strokes can be avoided. Some of us don't do doctor visits, but we should. More of us eat crap (I'm talking hamhocky, deep-fried in butter crap) and figure we'll be just fine. Nope, we'll die of dumb shit like hypertension and heart disease just when life gets good. Go to the doctor people; don't take the shitty drugs they give you, but at least go for check ups and shit. And don't have hamhocks for every meal. Try alternating the hamhock dinner with something a bit less risky, like fish (not fried) or something; maybe a nice fruit salad. Get your blood pressure checked. See someone if you have chest pains (I did, but of course, I went home after sitting in the ER for seven hours, but I tried). If you don't have insurance, go to those free health fairs and neighborhood events when they come up. Do something to cling to your health and happiness other than constantly shoving your mouth in a trough of fats and sugars. (Where's my soapbox? Oh, there it is.) Black women are about 70 percent more likely than white women to be diagnosed with heart disease and twice as likely to have heart attacks. Forty percent of us (meaning black folks) have some form of heart disease. We all know know people who have had debilitating or fatal strokes. In general, the whole "eat first, ask questions later" approach isn't working.
Now I can't say too much about those of you with fucked up eating habits, for I will be having a fried egg and bologna sandwich (with extra mayo) the moment I publish this entry AND I had Hot Doug's for dinner (a bacon sausage with avocado cream, lettuce, and tomatoes among other things), but I did have a granola bar for breakfast. Also, I, being the child of a hypochondriac, will go to the doctor in a heartbeat. Two Christmases ago, I just knew I was dying of cancer and visited my doctor for confirmation, luckily it was just a cyst. I've also had pap smears galore and a recent EKG. And I try my best to purchase the low sodium items when I grocery shop. And I opt for homemade meals more often than not to at least avoid some of the crazy fast food crappiness that abounds (though, I will be having a MCRib at some point before the promotion ends, but I won't be having 40 of them). See! Too much information, but I'm modelling behavior here. The point is, at least try to be healthy. Heart attacks at 40 is not a good look.
Some information/links for better health
Black men in Chicago with shitty to nonexistent health insurance
Woodlawn Health Center
6337 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Upcoming Health-Oriented Programs/Chicago
Women, Tend to Your Hearts
Also, in honor of the man who prompted this entry, let us all sing "Baby, I'm Ready" or "Casanova" in husky, soulful tones. All Hail Gerald Levert, Thane of Steppers' Sets!