Anthony Anderson, who plays ad exec Dre on the hit TV show Black-ish ,was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 18 years ago. Over time, he has become an advocate for the disease, inspiring the 2017 episode in which his character receives a diabetes diagnosis.
Recently, Anderson once again utilized his role to raise awareness about the blood sugar disorder, which disproportionately affects African Americans. Through a partnership with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, the star incorporated the company’s real-life “Get Real About Diabetes” campaign into an April 7 storyline, reports FiercePharma.
In the episode, titled “A Game of Chicken,” Novo’s diabetes campaign is assigned to one of Dre’s colleagues, a decision that rankles Dre because he believes the account should be given to him because he is living with the chronic condition.
Since the show aired, a video of Anderson explaining to the audience how to create and follow a diabetes management plan has garnered more than 2.3 million views across social media channels.
“My advice is simple,” Anderson says. “Get real about a diabetes management plan. Ask yourself, ‘Am I doing everything I can?’” (Among the factors he mentions are food, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and medication.)
In the video, Anderson offers encouragement to those with the illness, telling them that although managing diabetes isn’t easy, he does so every day and so can they. Anderson wrote in the post that he’s proud of having taken control of his disease.
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Almost three years ago, my character on @blackishabc was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This was a struggle I knew all too well since I’ve lived with diabetes for the past 18 years. It wasn’t easy at first, but I decided a while ago to take control of my disease management and I’m proud to be where I am today. Even during this difficult time, it’s still important to encourage people living with diabetes. I’ve teamed up with @novonordiskus to help others #GetRealAboutDiabetes. Visit GetRealAboutDiabetes.com to find support. #NovoAmbassador #type2diabetes #diabetes #GetRealAboutDiabetes #blackish #justakidfromcompton
When his character was first diagnosed with diabetes, Anderson teamed up with Novo Nordisk for an educational walk-through for fans. At that time, he discussed how and why the disease affects Black people more than other races. (Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking.)
Sadly, a national media tour with Anderson and the “Get Real” campaign had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Novo plans to resume the tour in the fall when, and if, it’s safe to do so.
Meanwhile, the digital and social media initiative will run on the accounts belonging to Novo, Black-ish and Anderson through the rest of the year.