Ironman on the Mic
Wu-Tang member raises diabetes awareness
Dennis Coles goes by many names: Ironman, Tony Starks, “rap’s finest storyteller.” You probably know him by his most famous name: Ghostface Killah, of the Wu-Tang Clan. If you can’t relate to the 43-year-old’s multiple identities, you can probably relate to this: He’s been living with type 1 diabetes since the mid-1990s.
Ghostface has been very public about his diagnosis and living with type 1. He has said in several interviews that when he started experiencing type 1 diabetes symptoms such as rapid weight loss, he suspected a sexually transmitted disease. Diabetes wasn’t a possible diagnosis in his mind.
The experience has inspired him lyrically. In his “Trials of Life” (on 2010’s Wallabee Champ), Ghost says, “In ’96, When my chain was thick/my body went through a change quick/not the same kid/lost 30 pounds rapidly/my neck got skinny. …Then I found that I was diabetic/but my conscience was telling me ‘Ghost, baby boy, not to sweat it,’/so I built my confidence back up/work out, eat right/stay strong so I can continue to eat these mics.”
It inspired him to reach out to others, too. In 2011, he started Making Diabetes Ghost, a nonprofit organization with goals of providing education, support and treatment to people affected by diabetes, “to ‘Ghost’ the disease and silence its echoes.” Though the organization seems to have gone quiet since then, people in Ghostface Killah’s camp say there is some behind-the-scenes action building. We can’t wait to see what this “Wu-Tang Secret” might be.
Ghostface Killah was not available for comment at press time.
Ghostface is one of several celebrity rap musicians advocating for diabetes awareness.