How Jazmine Sullivan Turned Her Mom's Breast Cancer Battle Into a Fight for Equality

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Jazmine Sullivan explained how she is helping educate Black women on breast cancer. “We don't talk a lot about health with our families," she said.

By Mike Vulpo Oct 13, 2021 1:00 PMTags
Watch: Jazmine Sullivan Wants More Black Women to Survive Breast Cancer

There's no cheerleader quite like Mom.

Ever since she was a little girl, Jazmine Sullivan remembers her mother, Pam Sullivan, doing all that she could to ensure her daughter's dreams came true.

"She sacrificed being home with her husband, being home with my brother because she was always out taking me on auditions and taking me different places," Jazmine exclusively shared with E! News. "She's had my back always and still does."

So, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that when Pam was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, Jazmine quickly went into cheerleader mode to advocate for her mom. 

"I didn't know any other way to be because I was just repeating the love that she gave me," she explained. "I went into warrior mode, almost mommy mode. She would say, ‘You treat me like the daughter!' When it's your mother, you don't want to lose them. You go into a mode that you didn't even know you had. What do I have to do to protect you and I'll do anything and I'll sacrifice anything. It brought us so much closer going through that."

Breast Cancer Survivors Reveal Their Best Advice

Today, Pam is in remission as her daughter teams up with Novartis on More Than Just Words, an initiative that is creating solutions to address disparities in breast cancer care.

Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET

"The numbers are jarring. 40 percent more Black women are dying than white women from breast cancer. We're trying to figure out how to close that gap," Jazmine explained while marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month. "We're having conversations to figure out what we can do to move that along and to make sure those numbers are lessened."

Jazmine is also encouraging families to spark conversations and learn more about a disease that impacts families across the country.

"This is a process because I feel in Black households, we don't talk a lot about health with our families," she shared. " We don't learn a lot about it in our schools. It's about self-educating. There's a lot you can get online."

As Jazmine's work continues, the R&B artist is savoring every moment with her mom. During the 2021 BET Awards, the Heaux Tales artist was able to accept the award for Album of the Year with her mom by her side.

Closer to home, preparations continue on a special room in Jazmine's house that is being decorated specifically for Mom to create even more happy memories.

"You just appreciate life so much more and every opportunity you can get to live, even if it's not doing anything grand, but just appreciating the breath, the fact that you can use your limbs, go for walks, everything becomes a whole new experience," Jazmine shared. "We're definitely in that place of gratitude and I want that for everybody. Realize it's a blessing to be alive." 

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