Jay Ellis on Health, HIV Awareness
Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson. The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans. Please feel free to send them questions via firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to keep it anonymous.
After bursting on the scene in his breakout role as “Blue” on the hit TV series The Game, actor Jay Ellis has made a name for himself not only in the industry but also in our households. While he continues to light up the small screen for the eighth season of the show, he’s using his success as a platform to promote health and wellness in the community.
As a certified Pilates instructor and the owner of multiple fitness clubs, staying fit has always been a priority. But Jay is now also an ambassador with amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS research, and is on a mission to educate us all about the importance of HIV screening. In our latest interview, Jay gets candid with us as to why health and wellness is so important to him and even gives a sneak peek on what we can look forward to this season on The Game.
JET: We’ve all grown to love “Blue” the past couple of seasons. What can we expect from him this season?
Jay Ellis: We see the transition as Blue matures and grows into the man that we thought he was going to be. It’s an interesting journey to see him grow up.
JET: Playing the role of a football player requires that you look the part. What’s your secret to fitness and how to maintain it?
JE: There are no shortcuts. I work out a lot and I watch what I eat. I’m in the gym for an hour, 5 days a week and I’m moving the entire time. I eat lean meats and vegetables to keep my system going.
JET: Can you tell us about your fitness centers and why health and wellness is so important to you?
JE: A few years ago, a buddy of mine and I opened our first store in Lafayette, Louisiana. We then opened another one in Baton Rouge. We’ve been looking for space in New Orleans and Houston to expand into as well. You have to feel good to look good and when you look good you feel good. It goes hand in hand. Being in the gym is something that has always been in my blood. It is also a great stress reliever.
JET: Equally as impressive is certainly your role as AIDS activist. What motivated you to become active in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
JE: I’ve had one family member pass and one living with AIDS currently. So for me it is personal. It was something that I felt was really important and wanted to get out there and talk about. I want to let people know that it’s ok to talk about it and get tested.
JET: You have teamed up with amfAR, the foundation for AIDS research to increase awareness for National Black HIV/AIDS Day. Tell us more about the work they are doing to educate the community.
JE: amfAR is an amazing organization. They have a countdown to finding a cure for HIV. A big part of what they do is raising funds and educating the community. I got involved because I have a love for motorcycles and Kiehl’s has a motorcycle ride every summer to raise money for amfAR. Last year it was a 10 day, 1,500 mile ride from Milwaukee to New York and $170,000 was raised.
JET: What do you say to other young black men to motivate them to decrease their risk of HIV infection?
JE: You want to live and you don’t want to put others at risk. When you don’t put yourself in a position to know your status you can’t achieve whatever you want to achieve in life and you put others at risk of not achieving their goals either. Knowledge is power in every sense of the word. If you’re sexually active, that’s one of the things you have to think about.
It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!
About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show. For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!