Toni Braxton hid her lupus condition for 2 years

Toni Braxton, lupus, Toni Braxton lupus, Toni Braxton lupus diagnosis, Toni Braxton health, Black women and lupus, rates of lupus in Black women, Black women
Toni Braxton poses in the press room during the 2019 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on Nov. 24, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)
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The singer opens up about how she was pushed to hide her lupus diagnosis.

Toni Braxton, who was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder lupus in 2008, has been a vocal advocate for survivors of the condition. However, she was initially advised to hide her diagnosis completely.

In a recent appearance on the “SHE MD” podcast, Braxton opened up about how her management team at the time told her hiding her autoimmune disorder would be better for her career.

“People get scared around sick celebrities. Nobody gets insured, and I couldn’t get insured,” she said.

In those early years, Braxton said she worked hard to hide her condition.

“I was ashamed. Especially being a performer. So I would make light of it,” she said.

The “Unbreak My Heart” singer, who ultimately went public with her condition during a 2010 interview with CBS, explained how her career suffered.

“I didn’t get work at first. No one wanted to put me on the stage,” she said. She added that managers and promoters would wonder, “‘Well, suppose she collapses on stage? And insurance? How are we going to do that?’”

Braxton’s rheumatologist, Dr. Daniel Jeffrey Wallace, who joined her during the appearance, added, “I was president of the Lupus Foundation of America, and our problem was we had all these celebrities with lupus, but none of them would come out.”

Now Braxton, who has previously spoken to theGrio about her condition, said she wants others to know, “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, nothing.”

Lupus, which occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs, is a condition that impacts women primarily and Black women at disproportionate rates. For a host of systemic reasons, Black women in the U.S. are three times more likely to develop the condition than white women.

The condition can also be difficult to diagnose in most cases. The R&B singer saw six different doctors before she received a diagnosis. She noted how she “felt like a hypochondriac” before she finally learned what was wrong.

“Like I’m just telling people, ‘I don’t feel well,’ and no one’s listening,” she explained. “And it doesn’t have a look. Lupus doesn’t have a look to it — not to say that other things do, but we always try to fake that we’re feeling great or we don’t want to worry anyone. As mothers and women, we tend to do that anyway.”

Braxton, a mother of two who advocates for Black Americans to prioritize their health, added, “[It’s] important that I pioneer and be an advocate, and tell other people about it and talk about my story, and hopefully, you can help someone.”

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