Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Article appeared in Black Health Magazine Jan/Feb 2011
Angie Stone: “Living a Purposeful Life Facing Diabetes”   
By Varion Walton 
Nobody puts it down quite like our Angie Stone! For more than 20 years we’ve embraced this funky, eccentric afro wearing, fist pumping lyric writing Soul Diva as one of our own. She’s belted out the backgrounds for rockers like Lenny Kravitz, performed as lead vocalist in the all girl group Vertical Hold and even served as key collaborator with D’Angelo’s platinum-plus 1995 debut album “Brown Sugar”. Stone has become a huge part of the neo-soul genre. Her first two albums in 1999 and 2001 went gold.

Often compared to Chaka Kahn and called the “new Aretha” for hip hop audiences, Stone’s sound is a unique blend of sophistication and determination. Refusing to be “set in stone”, she has never shied away from pushing the limits with her music. In 2001 her CD entitled “Mahogany Soul” produced a megahit single “Brotha” that would quickly become the new national Black anthem for many lovers of hip hop.

In 2007 she released “The Art of Love & War”, her first album to top the Billboard R&B/hip-hop chart. However, in the middle of recording her latest project, “Unexpected”, Stone’s father, her spiritual and creative advisor suddenly died. “It was totally unexpected,” she said, and that’s where I came up with
 the title of the album. I really didn’t think I could finish the project, because I was so grief stricken.” 

While she lost her father, she didn’t lose his love of soul and gospel music. Her spiritual connection wither dad reached back to her native South Carolina and his gospel quartet. It turned out to be another opportunity for her to reach back to her roots and deliver another knockout performance on “Unexpected.” However, the album would take on a double meaning. The tragedy forced Stone to pause, reflect and regroup, but it also made her commitment to a “purposeful life”, rock solid. Now she’s using all of that funky passion to confront a life with diabetes. 

Angie Stone is now the face of “F.A.C.E,” Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered Diabetes initiative. F.A.C.E. is a grassroots movement designed to foster behavioral lifestyles changes, nutrition/cooking and educational advice to more than 3 million African Americans living with diabetes in this country. Eli Lilly and The F.A.C.E. campaign helping those coping with diabetes understand the complications associated with this disease, if left unmanaged. ndparents, but some of those old habits we learned from years ago in our families are just not good for you.” 

Advocacy has its rewards! Angie Stone is turning heads, taking on a slimmer physique in her music videos. “Once I put on the clothes I haven’t worn in a long time, my self-esteem went through the ceili

Today this self-described “advocate “is taking action, traveling to a number of big cities around the country sharing her personal story about diabetes and how she works to manage the disease. “ I don’t’ mind going into the community and talking from one person to the next, from living room to living room, from television to radio, it doesn’t matter to me because if I can get you to pay attention to this crippling disease that’s more important than anything,” said Stone. I know how hard it can be being an overweight person. “I know the torture that comes with ballooning up to
 200 plus pounds”. 
Grounded in the spirit of Southern gospel Angie Stone knows that, “no test, no testimony” “I’ve been living with type-2 diabetes for more than 10 years now and initially it affected me, especially when traveling on the road. A lot of times I would be so busy I would forget to eat and that would send my blood sugar reading up and then I’d have to make a special stop to grab something to eat. “Diabetes definitely presented more than a few challenges for me initially.” 
But, now she has a better understanding of diet, nutrition and exercise and she manages to keep it under control. “That’s why I’m sharing my story with others, hoping to motivate them to beat diabetes too,” Stone said. You have to change what I call old generational habits. “I won’t call them bad habits because they were good for our gra
ng.” I’m on such a regiment now that when I get up in the morning, I know what to drink, I know what to eat. “I’ve come to have balance and that’s a big thing for a country girl from South Carolina who loved fried chicken, barbeque ribs and yams.” I still love all that stuff, but I’ve also come to love a salad with strawberries, mandarin and nuts along with my favorite salad dressing too, Stone said.

She also practices what she preaches at home. “I can’t remember the last time I had sugar in a cup of coffee or tea.” These days I’m leaving the fast food alone and cooking a healthier food in my own kitchen. “Just the other day my son was telling me how delicious some chicken nuggets were and he had no idea I had substituted them with veggie nuggets!

Nutrition is half the battle; diabetes runs prevalent in her family. “Not long ago my mom had 3 mini strokes and was close to a diabetic coma,” recalled Stone. Her doctors always told her to never allow her blood sugar reading to go beyond 300 and she was in serious trouble.” 

This time, her family crisis brought clarity and understanding. “My mom is doing much better today. “I finally got her to put down the sodas, the salt and all that extra stuff that was just unnecessary in her life. She trusted me and trusted God and earlier this month she was taken her off insulin,” said Stone. Her mother’s recovery helped to empower other women in her family. Stone says her cousins are now apart of the F.A.C.E. Initiative, and they’re learning to cope with and control diabetes.

“It’s important for me to live by example, not only for my family members but for all of my fans who started the F.A.C. E. Initiative with me three years ago. I’ve had people who have walked up to me and told me they’ve lost 300 pounds after truly being changed by this program. “That’s why I thank God for Eli Lilly, they’re helping folks in our community understand and embrace the way to lead a healthier life. I’ve never done the needles and I’m grateful for that, but my mom, my cousins and my fans now understand they have to take the time to love yourself and find balance in their lives. “As long as you are well fed by the knowledge of knowing it is possible to control this disease.” 

Today, there is “no more rain” in this Grammy-nominated singer’s cloud. She’s involved in her son’s schoolwork, even finding a few days off the road to join him on field trips even though she’s constantly on the road. Stone is living a balanced life, finding time for family and her music. I’m working with number of people on my next project. “Kevin Black, Former V.P. of Interscope is working with me. Also, Akon and Tank just committed to working with me.”  
She is a woman who continues to evolve and try new things. You can soon look for Angie Stone, “the actress” up on the silver screen. “I just finished a movie with actor and comedian Tommy Ford. He used to be on the Martin Lawrence Show. “I’m growing, branching out to different things, different areas to cross over into. But most of all, I want to stay true to my hustle and my commitment to make certain my people take better care of themselves.”
Singer, Actress, Advocate! Angie Stone giving her fans what they’ve come to “expect” in their “Neo-Soul Queen”, a prolific songstress still thriving after such a tragic loss; finding strength in every “Unexpected” opportunity. A star who will shine no matter what life throws at her, “Never waste what little time we have in life on negativity.”

For more information about F.A.C.E. ‘Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered’ Diabetes initiative visit