Honoring Jew-EL Darboné for Black History Month

Contributor: Halimat Olaniyan

This Black History Month SC101 is celebrating trail blazers in sickle cell awareness. How better to celebrate our history than to honor the life of Jew-EL Darboné. You may know of her as an outstanding, unapologetic motivational speaker and co-founder of #BoldLipsforSickleCell, but she was so much more.

Bold Lips for Sickle Cell, now formally Bold Plus + LLC, started by Shamonica Wiggins as a challenge to spread awareness for Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September but soon grew into a revolution. The idea was backed by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and had celebrities like Tionne Tboz Watkins from TLC, Kevin Hart, Nelly, and Nick Cannon too! It grew into a social media craze and put pressure on 44th President of the United States, that’s right Barack Obama, to recognize sickle cell as a national health priority. 

It became and still is a symbol to the world that sickle cell warriors are bold, brave, and our lives too can be beautiful. Darbone lived that symbol everyday from being an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay to being the co-owner and co-CEO of SCD Soldiers United, a nonprofit committed to sickle cell disease awareness, education, and community building. 

Her fierce advocacy work was not only limited to sickle cell. She led by example and used her social media platforms to inspire others to share their stories. She welcomed everyone to share whether it be living boldly with sickle cell, de-stigmatizing mental health, or uplifting those who are differently-abled. Her legacy will forever be the community she created for us all to live boldly, beautifully and in color as we are. She reminds us all that we are all vulnerable to the unpredictable nature of life. She will be remembered for how she added color to all of our lives.