Yes, Angela Bassett is an A-list celebrity. But she’s also a mother, wife and daughter who works to protect her loved ones.
The actress lost her mother, Betty Jane, in 2014 to heart disease caused by type 2 diabetes, and since then she’s made it her mission to educate other’s on the close link between the two illnesses.
On a warm Wednesday morning, the actress talked to ESSENCE about type 2 diabetes, her work with the For Your SweetHeart movement, and upcoming projects.
“She had a very, very strong constitution so I know that if she was able to get that under control she’d be sitting beside me today,” Bassett said about her mother’s diabetes.
“She had heart disease, high blood pressure, and complications with that. Each exacerbated the other. Sometimes just trying to grab ahold of all these different issues simultaneously was hard. Listening to your doctors and taking that advice and doing it is vital.”
With 29 million Americans suffering from type 2 diabetes, we wanted to know from the incredibly fit 58-year-old what everyone can do to stay healthy.
“In general we know that moving, and being mindful of things that we put in our body [is important]. Whether it’s processed, or heavily laden with preservatives or sugar. In our community we talk about having ‘a little sugar’. It sounds like a cute thing but we know it’s not. I think we should call it for what it is: diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Heart disease is the number one killer of those with type 2 diabetes.”
Switching gears, we couldn’t sit down with Bassett without talking about her appearance on Netflix’s Master of None as Denise’s (Lena Waithe) mother who accepts her daughter’s sexuality.
“I was a fan of season one,” she said about the Aziz Ansari comedy. “I love that acceptance. Love and acceptance, and getting over yourself.”
And on her upcoming (and highly-anticipated) role in Marvel’s Black Panther— she said, “I can’t tell you anything except that’s it’s going to be phenomenal. It’s going to be great. It’s going to look fabulous.”
As T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) mother in the film, Bassett was able to bring her son on set.
“My son did say, ‘Mom, you have the coolest sons. No wonder I’m an athlete. Between him (T’Challa) as my brother and you as my mother it’s no wonder I have such athleticism.’ [laughs] Athleticism? Where did he get that from?!”
We laughed, but we agree. Bassett is indeed a superwoman.
To learn more about the close link between type 2 diabetes and heart disease, head over to ForYourSweetheart.com.