Bryndan “Be” Moore claims to know how he is supposed to DIE, and he’s hell bent on stopping it.
Sounds like science fiction right? Maybe an episode of Quantum Leap or Flash Forward. But spend a few minutes talking with Moore, and you’ll know he’s dead serious about changing this version of the future. Does he have what it takes to change his fate?
Dead Man Walking!
(Laughing) I guess so!
So you’ve been very busy as of late. I understand there is some transitioning happening in your business.
Yeah. For the past 3 years we’ve done a lot to connect the Alumni of Historically Black Colleges. We’ve connected them back with their schools, and with each other and we’ll continue doing that. These people are career professionals, homeowners, parents, and influential in their circles. With them as a resource, we feel like we have the responsibility to do important work. We need to address some of the work that needs to be done in our communities and our families.
When you were building Alumni Roundup what were some of the surprising aspects of building a relationship with that demographic?
For me I wasn’t really surprised THEN. The surprise for me happened at 17 (years old) walking on the campus of Howard (University) for the first time. I was impacted and influenced for the rest of my life being around all these talented people. My professors were PhD’s from all over the world, and that debunked big myths for me in-terms of who black people are.
So I think that we are in a position to shock the REST of the world, by being a little more visible behind certain causes.
What are some of the differences in how you are interacting with that demographic now vs how you have historically?
It’s a major point of transition for us as now were saying, let’s turn our energies outward. Now that we’re connected, what are we going to do? How can we use this vehicle to make an impact on the world around us?
Okay, so lets get to it. How are you SUPPOSED to die, and how do you KNOW?
I’m supposed to contract some form of heart disease and die at a tragically early age, possibly after YEARS of managing type-2 diabetes, or “sugar” as we like to call it. By the way that’s how you bite it too.
Yeah man, you’re a lost cause. And your wife and daughter have an even GREATER chance of suffering the side effects of diabetes like kidney disease, blindness, and amputation of a lower extremity if they don’t get it together.
I’m sorry I know it’s scary but the numbers don’t lie. Heart disease is the number one killer of people in the US, and Black American’s suffer TWICE the risk. We’re also twice as likely to contract diabetes, and Black women are at the highest risk.
That’s why we’ve built Alumni Wellness. It’s our shot at changing the outcome.
So what is the elevator pitch on Alumni Wellness?
Alumni Wellness is an effort conducted by Alumni Roundup, our membership, and supporters to address the major causes of death affecting American and disproportionately affecting African Americans. The big deal is that in many instances the conditions are completely preventable. So we’re creating ways that we can deliver the healthy lifestyle message and make it FUN, entertaining, and memorable.
So what are some of the practical ways you are going to change the game?
What we’ve got is a multi year program, and we’re committed to a program that is going to evoke lifestyle change. For 2011 the big idea is 3 tier: First, we’re setting up Run/Walk events around the country followed by a great tailgate with great tasting healthy food options, and music. We’ll also have health screening stations and for access to information and great advice.
The second portion is our HBCU campus tour where we’ll engage college age students and local alumni and friends. We’ll be bringing cooking demonstrations, boot-camp style workouts, yoga, and meditation to the campus, all taught by our alumni experts. Again the whole approach is making things fun, and debunking some of the misconceptions.
Third is a new web portal with mobile programming that will provide goal tracking, and the ability to connect with local groups for people who are interested in exercising, or cooking, or whatever.
So when is the Alumni Wellness initiative going to start and where?
We’re looking to have our first event in the spring in Atlanta, and right now the big deal is to raise the money necessary to start the ball rolling. We are looking for great brands to partner with on our mission, and we also need grass-roots support in order to properly position the program to start.
What are some changes that YOU have made in your life towards better living?
Man, I’m locked in. I love yoga, I lift weights, and have adopted a meditation practice. I STILL eat everything, but I make it a requirement that I eat all the healthy stuff I am supposed to eat in terms of veggies, and plenty of water. I’m determined to give myself the best shot possible at living a long and active life.
Within the Alumni wellness context , what are the 3 most important areas of life to look at for someone to benefit from the program.
Well to take a step back, for me it starts with a personal journey. Every adult man in my family above me, and even some cousins are currently managing high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Cancer has been responsible for the deaths of my grandparents and one of my close friends. Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases. That’s something that is acquired.
These conditions come from lack of movement, lack of deliberate exercise, eating too much of the wrong foods, not drinking enough water, not respecting the design as we say. We’re designed to eat certain things, drink certain things, and its basically “move it or lose it.” When you don’t do that, this is when you get people suffering heart attacks in their 40s and 50s, having strokes, and unnecessarily taking prescription drugs for the rest of their lives.
It’s interesting, people are often sticklers for appearance, and we tend to put a lot of attention on our cars, and houses and our outer appearance. You’re suggesting that were not paying enough attention to whats going IN our body…
Absolutely, 100%. I think we spend a lot of time thinking only externally like you said, and what we need to be thinking about is our numbers. What is our cholesterol count, what does the doctor say our blood pressure looks like, what can I do to create a situation where that’s going to improve over time. What conditions can I create to make that happen?
Often just because of lack of advice and because we have a huge momentum culturally towards allowing ourselves to simply be medicated out of problems. We’re told we are in risk of having high blood pressure. What’s the solution?
“Well, EVERYBODY in my family is on blood pressure medication so, give me that.”
That’s not necessarily the answer that we need to hear, and once you go on the meds without making a lifestyle change you possibly are NEVER coming off them. And if we can medicate away from our problems, what are the chances we’re going to seek a lifestyle change? What are the long term affects of being on meds? How does it affect your lifestyle and your ability to do things?
These are all questions that are yet to be really addressed. Our mission is to get this conversation happening, and to create some pretty cool and fun ways for folks to adopt lifestyles that will offer them longer and more enjoyable lives.
There are many different outreach programs that would be beneficial for people. What are some of the incentives that you guys are going to be using to get people inside the room?
I think the difference between what you’re talking about in-terms of outreach is completely the opposite of what were doing. Were doing what I would call IN-REACH.
With outreach you’re talking about some external organization that is seeking to impact a population. I’m saying we ARE the body. We are the victims, and our friends and families are the victims, of our own culture, lack of information and neglect. I’m saying internally we ARE the target market. And to answer your question we’re definitely tying in relevant celebrities, and looking to provide tons of prizes and giveaways.
We’ve got a great program set up to help get us started. Donors to the program will receive some excellent thank you gifts, as well for donors who give just $25 or more we’ll make a donation in their name to the HBCU of their choice. Its a win-win.