7 Black Celebrities You May Not Know Have Sickle Cell Anemia

Larenz Tate

Actor Larenz Tate, who is best known for his role as O-Dog in the 1993 film Menace II Society, has sickle cell anemia. His other films include Dead Presidents, Love Jones, A Man Apart, Waist Deep, Biker Boyzand Ray. “It’s really important to know if you carry the disease,” Tate says. He stresses the importance of screening since many do not know if they have sickle cell anemia, a hereditary blood disorder.

Miles Davis

Legendary jazz musician Miles Davis suffered from sickle cell anemia. He was reportedly plagued by bad health, including diabetes, hip problems related to sickle cell anemia and two bouts of drug addictions.

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Paul Williams, an original member of the legendary R&B group The Temptations, suffered from sickle cell anemia, and his health issues had a negative effect on his music career. In too much pain at times to perform, he would often self-medicate with alcohol.

Georgeanna Marie Tillman Gordon

Georgeanna Tillman Gordon

Singer Georgeanna Tillman Gordon, of the Motown girl group The Marvelettes, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia during childhood. She died from the disease in 1980.


Tionne ‘T- Boz’ Watkins

Singer T-Boz of the popular group TLC has sickle cell anemia and has served as the spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association in the United States.



According to rapper Prodigy, of the rap duo Mobb Deep: “I was diagnosed with sickle cell when I was 3 months old. I have the worst type of sickle cell … the ‘SS’ type. If I don’t take care of myself and do the right things, I will experience a severely painful sickle cell crisis; all my joints hurt; it’s a bad scene. Before I really knew how to take care of myself, I was in and out of the hospital … they had me on morphine for pain, IVs in my arm, couldn’t get comfortable for days at a time … it was really hard on my body.