The other day I read a post on Diabetes Mine about Halle Berry and her being a good role model/advocate for PWD. I kinda’ have my own feelings about celebs becoming advocates. Whether it’s Paula Deen or Bret Michaels, they all have their work cut out for them. But to me it’s not the celebs that I have a problem with. It’s the wannabe celebs who call themselves advocates that I’m worried about.
Lots of folks in the DOC were either upset or flat out mad when Paula Deen came clean about her diabetes. Not me. I figured as a celebrity chef and spokesperson for various brands but most of all her own, I pretty much understood how that might look to her fans and customers. Being a stand up comedian I’ve learned a lot about how image can effect how your brand is received. If you do something that appears to go against what your brand is about, the people will let you hear it in one of two ways. 1)They let you know by snail-mail, email, Facebook posts, Twitter or Youtube. 2)The worst case scenerio would be they’ll just stop buying your product. That will of course involve a lot more people than just the celeb. Like the folks that work 40 hours a week to put that product on shelves. So I get it. It’s business. What happened to Bret Michael’s Snapple that was raising money for the ADA? Did the ADA also get a cut when the Snapple went to Big Lots? Who knows. Anyway, Paula’s thing wasn’t a big deal to me. Probably cause I watch too much tv anyway and I’m a bit jaded to it all.
But this is what worries me. These so called celebrity so and so’s that are popping up everywhere. They’ve appeared on this and that show. They have a self published book. They have socks, radio shows and watches and all this different stuff to hock. Oh yeah and they even have diabetes. But nobody is checking them out. Do they really know how to do what they claim they’re famous for? I mean do they have at least a certificate to back up their title? What does that high end product they are selling have to do with diabetes? Is anybody asking these questions? I mean why not? Why are we just accepting the fact that they are honest and sincere? Because we share the same disease? All of these question and more can be answered if you just look it up. Yeah, be nosey. You have my permission!! Because in this digital age you can learn a lot without having to hack into government servers. Just put the pieces together. When you put them together you’ll see that many of these folks don’t even remotely have diabetes as their main focus. What they’re doing is trying to make a living off diabetes. They want the attention, the fame, they want to be Paula Deen even though they claim that she’s a fraud. Really? You have all these irons in the fire with products and other crap yet nothing is finished or being sold and SHE’S a fraud. Please. All of this is because today it’s really easy to gain fame. If a surfing dog can get a deal then it should be easy for someone to adopt a title and claim they’re an advocate.
Those of us who are working hard to build awareness need to be aware of these clowns. I’m not the most knowledgeable about many things dealing with diabetes. But I want to learn as much as I can. All I know how to do is make people laugh. Well maybe not all I know but collecting comic books and Polaroid cameras don’t really fit it. But I am eager to do something to build awareness and get people informed. So when I see people coming in and trying to be “the face of diabetes” and I find out they have some less than appealing ways of going about it, then I have a problem with them. And you should too. Because it cheapens what we’re working for. When someone who doesn’t have diabetes or have a family member with diabetes see’s these wannabes being all flashy it makes the rest of us look like idiots. And if you want to know the truth…I ain’t havin’ it.
Consider this a warning if you’d rather “shine” than honestly make a difference.