Friday, September 11, 2009

Celebrities could do more to raise awareness of sarcoidosis

(Whose column is this? Read on...)

"Hi, Uncle Phil! Do you get that a lot?!"

"Yes, bii-a-atch, I do get that a lot."

That's what I think to myself anyway.

"Why, yes, I do!" That is what I say with an odd and affected mix of weariness, excitement and sarcasm. "I get that all the time, thank you so very much!"

The 'Phil' the woman busing tables at the Wendy's on North Broad Street in Elizabeth, N.J. is referring to is the character Philip Banks in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He's played by James Avery (The pic of Avery is from a fan site displaying autographed photos of celebrities).

Uncle Phil! a woman shouted to me on the streets of New Haven back in 2005

Oh, shut the @!#$ up, I responded...rather un-Uncle Phil-like, I know.

Truth be told, it doesn't really get deep under my skin. James Avery seems like a nice enough guy. And Uncle Phil, in the world of the sitcom, is well respected, educated, smart (educated and smart don't necessarily go together; the character is both), successful, wealthy, married to a beautiful woman... It's all good for Uncle Phil.

My basic problem is this: The guy who plays Uncle Phil is 20 years my senior! We share surface characteristics. Both of us are tall, big and bald. Both of us have salt-and-pepper (heavy on the salt!) beards.

This ain't a case of 'they-all-look-alike' either. Black people AND white people have shouted "Uncle Phil!" as I've walked by. It does not happen often, but it happens enough. Like I said, I don't mind, but look closer. I don't look like James Avery, as handsome as he is...;)

(Pic: Angela Bassett in a red dress) Surface characteristics, surface traits...Natalie Portman, Megan Fox and Natalie Wood are slim brunette women. Do they look alike? Marilyn Monroe and Madonna are blondes. Do they look alike? Orprah Winfrey, Angela Bassett, Hallie Berry. Can people not tell the difference between the three? Sorry...I can't come up with any examples that include guys. But see where I am going.

The point is this: Look past the surface and you'll see individuals, not people who remind you of characters or celebrities.

(Pic: Marilyn Monroe glam shot) I do wish I was a celebrity, though. I would use my good name to raise awareness about sarcoidosis and other autoimmune diseases. I am impressed with folks like Karen Duffy, who have talked candidly about battling the disease. I know the folks at are hoping that a celeb with the disease steps up to the mic and talks about it. Maybe they will appear on Oprah.

Hmm...come to think of it, maybe I should try to pass for James Avery...I'll call Oprah, tell her I have a new project, get on the show and then tell the world about this disease, raise money for a cure, yada-yada-yada...

Oh, well, a fellow can dream - and shave off his prematurely gray beard!

...Food for thought...

Today, we remember the men and women who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

We stand united in fighting terrorism and making the world a better place so it does not happen again.

We should also consider possible causes for sarcoidosis and other autoimmunue diseases, which affect millions of people. Consider this report on a study in the wake of environmental pollution after the collapse of the Twins Towers. Click here for more.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

  1. People are searching Google for "James Avery" and "sarcoidosis," and your blog come up, leading them to believe that James Avery died from complications of Sarcoidosis. Can you confirm or deny?