This week we’re going to turn the spotlight over to DJ Kuttin Kandi, a pioneer for women in hip-hop who’s currently in the fight of her life, as Colorlines’ Akiba Solomon recently revealed. If you’re new to her sound, here’s a quick video primer:
As you can see, Kandi’s skills reach beyond the turntable into activist spaces, a versatility which has enabled her to share her struggles with heart disease – and the challenges she faced finding the proper care.
“The moment they told me, ‘You need to lose weight’ without asking my personal health journey, I knew they were judging me,” she told Solomon. “They didn’t look at me as though I was a person; they just looked at my pounds. If weight is the issue, okay fine — let’s discuss the weight [and] what got me here. But I think it’s more than just weight.”
She went on to discuss the medical industry’s general lack of awareness when it comes to issues of privilege and social power:
For example, if a doctor knew what struggles a Pinay like me faces, [he or she] would know that Filipino adults are 70 percent more likely to be obese in comparison to the rest of the Asian population. They would also know that in the U.S., 15.93 percent of Asian-American women have contemplated suicide in their lifetime and that there is a rise of depression amongst Filipino Americans. … They would understand cultural norms and know that there is a thing called “hiya” in where we don’t bring shame to our families by seeking something like mental healthcare.
Now in recovery mode, Kandi says, she is taking a sabbatical from performing – A fundraising page has been established to help Kandi pay for the $50,000 in medical expenses that aren’t likely to be covered by her insurance – but that doesn’t mean she’s abandoning her multiple passions entirely.
“My healing is going to include all that I’ve done over the years through music, art, writing, hip-hop, community and love,” she told Solomon. “It’s going to include healthy walks, healthy food, healthy discussions, healthy meditations. And it’s going to be filled with family and friends. And I’ll be doing all of this while I am still in the struggle. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”