“This is how the health care hustle works: We bring you in—you’re sick—we start you on treatment protocols that are many times more toxic than what we're treating you for…” Thus begins the narrative for the trailer of Nick Cannon’s upcoming documentary Strong Enemies—The Untold Case of Dr. Sebi.

Cannon released the trailer this spring, on the one-year anniversary of Nipsey Hussle’s death after he was fatally shot outside of his clothing store in LA. Shortly after the vegan rapper’s death, Cannon, also a vegan entertainer, made headlines when he vowed to complete the documentary that Hussle was developing about Dr. Sebi, the herbalist with no formal medical education, who said he could cure AIDS.

Nick Cannon Releases Trailer for Unfinished Nipsey Hussle Documentary 


Sebi called himself a doctor and placed advertisements in major newspapers that caused him to come under the jurisdiction of states that cracked down on his treatments as possible fraud. But followers of Dr. Sebi believe he was persecuted for challenging the powerful medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry, with his thesis that AIDS could be cured by a specific course of herbs and a vegan diet. Sebi taught that a specific vegan diet alkalizes one’s physiology, and proves to be a poor host for the virus, causing the person's symptoms to abate.

In 1988, the state of New York successfully sued Dr. Sebi and enjoined him from:

“Claiming orally, or in writing, that respondents, their services or their products can cure, mitigate, or in any way relieve or alter the course of AIDS, herpes, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, lupus or any other human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition” (People of the State of New York vs. Alfredo Bowman a/k/a Dr. Sebi, 1988)

Beyond disallowing advertising for his treatments for the USHA Center, which he relocated from Africa to New York, they barred Dr. Sebi from distributing literature, publishing, diagnosing, treating, prescribing, as well as selling and distributing products. Sebi then moved his practice to California.

Dr. Sebi recommended that his patients take a specific herbal supplement that he had devised, as they followed a strict diet. They were told to skip alcohol, refined sugar, and iodized salt. Vegetables, fruits and a vegan diet were his recommendations. Born in Honduras as Alfredo Bowman, he became a self-educated herbalist and self-proclaimed healer. Sebi told his patients to drink a gallon of water a day, to only eat foods from his nutritional guide, to never use a microwave, to not eat canned or seedless fruits, and to consume his herbal supplements an hour before their medications.

The herbal teas Sebi prescribed to his patients included known ones like chamomile and ginger, as well as rare herbal teas used in traditional African medicine, including burdock, elderberry, and fennel. He favored spicy peppers such as cayenne and habañero, as well as familiar herbs such as basil, dill, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.

But where Sebi ran afoul of the FTC is when his claims leaped from herbs for mucus buildup to herbal treatments for AIDS which he claimed was not caused by the virus HIV. The trailer shows clips of Dr. Sebi claiming to have cured AIDS numerous times in patients who took his herbal supplements and drastically altered their diet. The ads caught the attention of New York authorities who banned him from making false claims and he moved his center to California. Sebi died in 2016, after being arrested for money laundering in Honduras. He was found carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash and died in jail from pneumonia. Shortly after Dr. Sebi's death, Hussle, who followed a strict vegan diet, began a documentary that he left unfinished at the time of his tragic death in 2019. Dr. Sebi's herbal supplements are still for sale online.

Nipsey Hussle x PUMA Hoops LA Court Refurbishment
Getty Images for PUMA
In Cannon’s tweet announcing the release of the trailer, he used the hashtag: #TheMarathonContinues. The Marathon Clothing was Hussle's clothing company in South Los Angeles where he was shot to death last year. Hussle sang about the arduous journey from growing up poor to financial autonomy as a black businessman, and his song "Grinding All My Life" was played on the HBO show Ballers.
Hussle's devotion to a vegan diet is what led him to want to make the documentary about Dr. Sebi. Nick Cannon, also a vegan artist, has now picked up the mantle and is finishing the film.
Watch the trailer here.

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