‘Yo! MTV Raps’ Host Doctor Dré Loses His Sight to Diabetes

Former Yo! MTV Raps host Doctor Dré. Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images

Former Yo! MTV Raps host Doctor Dré. Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images

As host of the landmark 90’s hip-hop show “Yo! MTV Raps,” Doctor Dré was at the forefront of the rap music wave. Alongside co-host D.J. Ed Lover, the duo introduced a show that would ultimately bring rap music into the mainstream media. Now, the Long Island native is looking to host a show spotlighting a disease that affects over 29 million people nationwide.

In an interview with The New York Times, Doctor Dré, born Andre Brown, discussed his health struggles since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago. He said the disease has ravaged his body in a number of ways: from an amputated toe to various ankle injuries. The former Beastie Boys D.J. even lost his eyesight three years ago.

“My stubbornness put me where I’m at. Now my energy is going to change that,” Brown told The New York Times “We got young people, grown people, old, all having this. We can prevent this. We can cure this. I have an idea how to do it.”

According to the publication, Brown is planning to have weight-loss surgery and wants to document his journey through a reality TV show. The former ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ host teamed up with ex-Def Jam executive Bill Adler to pitch the idea to producers. Brown’s reality show would also highlight the alarming rate at which African-Americans and Latinos are diagnosed with diabetes.

Per the American Diabetes Association, Black Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes that non-Hispanic whites. The disease has made its rounds in the hip-hop community as well; rapper Phife Dawg of ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ passed away in March due to complications of diabetes.

“He [Brown] thinks his story could offer useful suggestions about how to live and eat healthfully, and challenge parts of the pharmaceutical industry that benefit from long-term treatment,” the Times article reads. “He thinks — and recent news supports him — that weight-loss surgery might have better results, including remission for some people.”

Unfortunately, Brown and Adler have had trouble getting people to back their idea for a short-term reality show. Adler told the Times he’s reached out to a number of “high-profile hip-hop personalities and entrepreneurs” for support, but has yet to hear anything back.

“These are people I’ve known for 30 years, and they haven’t gotten back to me,” Adler stated. “Dré just wants to share his enthusiasm with people. There are plenty of other folks who star in reality shows who are plainly narcissists, who are convinced every absurd thing out of their mouth has to be captured by a television camera. That is not Dré.”

It’s unclear whether Brown’s show will get any airtime, but hopefully someone finds it worthy for television.


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