They say health is wealth, but knowledge of your health, and how to maintain and sustain it, is the ultimate power.
Recently BET's Black Coffee had the honor of sitting down with the late Dr. Sebi's daughter, Kellie Bowman, and grandson Izeal Bowman.
On Wednesday (July 24) hosts Marc Lamont Hill, Gia Peppers and Jameer Pond were all joined by the aunt and nephew duo in order to dig deep into the holistic doctor's practices and impact in the hip-hop community.
During the very touchy - and touching - topic of late rapper Nipsey's Hussle's untimely death, both Izeal and Kellie reflected on their reactions to the initial conspiracy theories that Nip's murder was a ploy to stop the release of the rapper's Sebi-inspired documentary.
"When Nipsey first passed, most people thought, 'Oh, he died because he was going to put out a documentary about Dr. Sebi.' Then three hours later, they found the shooter - found the killer- then all the speculation went out the window. When negative things happen or tragedies happen, our society is always quick to jump to an opinion, instead of knowing facts," the former holistic healer's grandson stated.
"So the fact that Nipsey Hussle didn't die over doing a documentary, it makes you think, 'Why would they want to kill Nipsey over doing a documentary if he wasn't Dr. Sebi? Or he wasn't healing people?' Yes, he was talking about the message, but a theory on killing Nipsey Hussle? No. There is no conspiracy. Nipsey Hussle died in gang violence, something that was very tragic to our society and to hip-hop, period," Izeal said.
"It raises a question: What did this man do to impact Nipsey Hussle? That's something that's very interesting, because he's from a different era of what we're used to seeing," Kellie added.
She continued, "You would think as a community advocate, that Nipsey Hussle would have different projects at his age, but he ran across Dr. Sebi. What did that mean for us? What did that mean for his era? It means a lot!"
Kellie admitted although she never met the late hip-hop philanthropist, she admired his efforts, along with that of the late TLC artist and fellow Sebi enthusiast Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
“[My father's belief] wasn't a new thought, it was just an uncovered thought. So we celebrate that. Just like when we celebrated when Lisa Lopes was involved. Quite a few out there have found out who Dr. Sebi was [since then]... and I appreciate it. I never got to meet [Nipsey], but I love his thoughts."
"Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes was one of the pioneers who was the one who really pushed my grandfather and really set the bar high for hip-hop on eating healthy, and then Nipsey picked up the torch and kept it going," Izeal proudly stated.
During a discussion on Sebi's legacy, and what she learned from Sebi, the late doctor's daughter said that her father taught her the power of truth, and the acceptance of both life and death.
"The truth will set you free. Sometimes you have to die for the truth, and that's OK, because that gives courage. It shows courage. It is what we were founded on as a people. So keep that strength. Sometimes the truth is not always popular, and it's not always easy,” Kellie said.
She added, "He fought a good fight. But we need to know what our fight is, and how does this apply to us.”
When asked specifically what Dr. Sebi's "truth" was, and who he was at home, Kellie replied, "He was a father, he was a writer, he was a journalist, he was a scientist. He was a jokester, he was a man who knew that he was sick, and that he needed to heal himself first. So healing himself first, it taught us that natural healing can be done, [along] with the courage that we all possess inside."
"I never saw my grandfather judge anyone," Izeal said during a discussion on the vegan culture and plant-based dieters vs. non.
He continued, “I noticed in our culture, we can obtain knowledge, or know something more than someone else, and feel like we're better than them - and it's only knowledge. We're supposed to share knowledge. My grandfather never put a label on us, like 'You're vegan, and you're this and that.' On social media, people are very judgmental, and it shouldn't be like that. This is about love, it's about sharing information, and that's all my grandfather did."
When host Peppers asked Kellie her thoughts on people, particularly those in the African-American community, struggling to transition out of carnivorous diets, Kellie reiterated her nephew's point that knowledge is power- as well as love.
"Well, first of all, there is no judgement. We've all come from somewhere. We did it because this is the way we've always eaten. We are the sum of our experiences, and if our experiences are at my mother's table, the sum of your experiences have a lot of things in there that are not good for you, and pretty horrible for our bodies. That's one of my concentrations right now, a woman's diet, because we were fed by women. Sebi was [also] loved and supported and fed by women," Kellie said.
She then went on to detail how unhealthy dieting not only has a negative impact on physical health, but mental and emotional as well.
"When we start to have bloating, when we start to have nerve damage, when we can't seem to deal with anything, we know something is going on. We call it 'natural' when someone gets on our nerves, but it is our food sources that have fooled us into thinking that we are depressed and defeated. That is a false feeling. It's our diet,” Kellie said.
She added, “So when we think about our clarity, and we look in books and we want to find [the solution] in something that we are reading outside of ourselves, we need to go within to find our organic self. But the only way we can get there is by an organic diet -- a plant-based diet. But we don't know that [because] we weren't taught to do that.
"So the judgement from being vegan to someone who is not, that shows a sickness, still. If we are judging someone about their diet, that means we still have work to do.”
The late Sebi's nephew then chimed in, further backing up his aunt's remarks on the negative effects of generational, and genetic, dietary habits and disease.
"We've been under generational curses for years and years. It's in everyone's family. Diseases [are] created from animals. So if we're eating eggs, beef, cheese and dairy, that's just not in your family. That's a nationwide thing. So how do we break these curses? We stop watching the television. We stop going to 7-11's, we stop consuming things that are man-made,” Izeal proposed.
He added, “If that food from 7-11 has a shelf life of 100 years, what proper nutritional value can it put into your body? ... And it's been generational. Your great grandmother gave it to your mom, and your mom gave it to you, and then the doctor will tell you it's hereditary. [However], we all get diabetes, we all get high blood pressure, we all get high cholesterol from genetically modified foods which destroy the body. A plant-based diet is the best thing for us."
The third generation holistic healer and advocate also detailed the disadvantages of modern-day medicine, and the perks of choosing natural remedies over pharmaceutical drugs.
“If the herbs are the healers of the nation, how can pharmaceutical drugs cure anything? If your doctor don't cure the common cold today... [how can] we trust him to lead us to great health? They don't cure anything. They'll write a prescription drug and tell you to go home. We think that's OK, [but] that's a chemical. That's a generational curse we've [also] been under.”
As far as the burning question regarding actor-comedian Nick Cannon's support and backing behind the Nipsey-initiated Sebi documentary, Izeal confirmed Cannon will pick up where Hussle left off.
"Nick got in line with the documentary right when Nipsey passed away. When Nick reached out and wanted to talk, he said he wanted to get healthy first, before the documentary. So, I put him on a plant-based diet, start taking the minerals, then we started talking about the documentary, and now we're making it today.”
Izeal then revealed that Cannon, who has been candid about his own auto-immune health complications, decided to make some lifestyle changes during his time working on the upcoming Sebi film.
“[Like] most men, we eat everything, we do everything, we party, we do it all. But one thing men don't do is take care of themselves. You know, we love the outer appearance, but our inner appearance is impotent, compromised and sick,” Izeal said.”The changes I saw in Nick, once he started eating right, his immune system began to change, his skin began to get a glow. You vibrate higher. When you travel from state to state on jets and leers, you can be very sick. With a strong immune system, you can go all over the world."
Be sure to read more about the upcoming Sebi documentary here!
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(Photos from left: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images, Rock Newman Show via YouTube, Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic )