Miami Living Magazine

Aaron Diaz

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Page 138 of 189

Damon Dash is an entrepreneur, who has worked on movies, launched his own record label, and has recently launched a new network—the Dash Diabetes Network. Dash brings a new perspective to diabetes. Each episode aims to educate and bring awareness to what it's like to live with diabetes. It's a lifestyle that Dash himself has mastered. Dash has been living with diabetes since the age of 15, but it never got in the way of his dreams. In any case, it empowered him. "I thought it was pretty cool that I could live a regular life, and also put a needle in my leg 7-8 times a day. I thought that was gangster, and I was always proud of it," says Dash, now 46 years old. Dash started his career as a movie producer, but then decided to pursue music. Through his family connections, Dash secured a record deal early on in his career. "I had to learn the music business the hard way. I was young, it was my first time being a manager, and I didn't know how to work the system, and I didn't want to work the system—I didn't like having to be told what to do," he says. But it wouldn't be long until Dash would be able to make his own calls and his own rules. When Dash came across Jay-Z, he tried to get him signed with about twenty different labels. "No one would sign him. So we decided to do it ourselves. From that day on, I figured that every other thing in the world that I needed to get done, I needed to do myself." Dash began to get his hands on everything, from high fashion to television. His number one goal: to make his projects different and do things that others hadn't thought of. "I am not the person who likes to do what other people do. What I learned from the streets is that it makes no sense to hustle on a crowded block. There is too much competition," he explains. And it's this attitude of thinking outside the box that brought success to his projects, which usually revolved around his personal experiences. One of his biggest accomplishments is Dame Dash Studios, which was born from his passion for movies and directing. Dash was aware that making a movie was just one part of the business, the other half is the distribution, and because he likes to do things himself, he launched his own distribution channel, Dame Dash Studios. "I wanted to be a director. I wanted to make money of myself, my point of view, and my actual experiences. So, I put money into making a movie, but when you make a movie you have to be worried about distributing." Dame Dash Studios is his own version of Netflix or Hulu. It's subscription-based, and subscribers have access to all the different channels, including the Dash Diatebes Network. "It's everything that I am affiliated with and that I respect," he says. Dash has learned how to leverage his own experiences and make quick and professional content—the Dash Diabetes Network is a clear indication of how good he has become at it. "It's about me, myself. It's about something that's supposed to be a weakness but it turned out to be a strength for me. I wanted to showcase being a diabetic. I don't think anyone would have given me the platform to showcase being cool while being diabetic, so I had to do it myself," he explains. The Dash Diabetes Network is something Dash always wanted to do. "This was on my bucket list. I wanted people to see that I was diabetic." Making it happen took a lot of effort. Between his family and other projects, Dash had his hands full, but when he came across Afrezza® inhaled insulin at his doctor's office, versus one that he had to inject, he was immediately intrigued with the idea. The first time he tried it, he didn't use it right, and posted his initial reactions on Instagram and it went viral among the diabetic community. Seeing there was a positive reaction to his post, Dash went on to find more information about Afrezza®. "I started doing a lot of research. I spoke with the CEO and all the doctors who developed the product. I got to understand the product and how to use it correctly," says Dash. "When you take the insulin through the needle, it takes 1.5 hours to start working. With Afrezza®, it gets into your body fast and starts working within 15 minutes. That's the innovation right there. I've had to juggle diabetes my whole life, ever since I was 15, and despite I always paid close attention to it, I could never get it under control. When I came across the inhaler, I used it, and it worked. I wanted to tell the whole world about it. I got a sponsor, and that's how it happened. Afrezza® became our sponsor." Dash explains that diabetes affects everyone around you, and for him, the one who has been by his side is Raquel Horn. "Diabetes is a 24-hour thing, it involves every part of your lifestyle, you have to be really healthy," he explains. "It involves your partner, as it relates to things like eating. You have to eat foods that are carb-friendly. I have a girl who cares about me and makes sure I eat correctly. We have a segment in the show where she cooks the same exact meals on television that she cooks for me when we are not on television."

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