There are very few familiar faces from BET’s and MTV’s heyday still around but one that many people recognize is Ananda Lewis. The young Black woman’s presence on these networks in their earlier days provided representation that mattered, and now she’s hoping to use her influence in another way – a fight for her life.
Ananda Lewis came to recognition as the host of BET’s Teen Summit, a show for teens which ran for 3 seasons on the network and put Lewis in the chair of discussing difficult topics facing youth, which was her passion. During the show’s run, she even had the chance to sit down with such notables like then First Lady Hillary Clinton. Lewis was awarded a NAACP Image Award for her work.
Lewis then moved on to MTV, being offered a job after her successes at BET. She became an even bigger household name when she became a host of the hit flagship show Total Request Live, which gave Lewis a much bigger platform than before. She also expanded her hosting duties at MTV due to her success, eventually going on to do topical programs around such events like the Columbine shooting and earned another Image Award for hosting the MTV special True Life: I Am Driving While Black.
Unfortunately for Lewis, her success was stunted due to 9-11. After leaving MTV, she was given her own daytime talk show, The Ananda Lewis Show, which appeared on September 10, 2001. The show ended up being canceled after 1 season, due to the upheaval that happened with the country in the aftermath.
Since then, Lewis has still been working as a host and spokesperson for a number of initiatives, even having appeared on ABC’s Celebrity Mole: Yucatán. While she’s been outspoken about causes such as children’s literacy and is an avid animal lover, the topic that she’s focusing on is even more near and dear to her heart – literally.
Taking to her Instagram to make a painful announcement, many haven’t heard much from Lewis over the years in terms of press but now her battle with stage 3 breast cancer is front and center, as she’s announced to her followers – and friends and family – that she’s been battling it holistically for the last 2 years.
“For a really long time, I have refused mammograms, and that was a mistake. I watched my mom get mammograms for almost 30 years almost, and at the end of that, she had breast cancer, and I said, ‘Huh. Radiation exposure for years equals breast cancer. Yeah, I’m going to pass. Thanks anyway,” she told the camera before dropping a bombshell.
“If I had done the mammograms from the time they were recommended, when I turned 40, they would have caught the tumor years before I caught it through my own exam—self exam—and thermography,” Lewis said. “And they would have caught it at a place where it was more manageable. Where the treatment of it would have been a little easier. It’s never easier, but I use that word in comparison to what I’m going through now. Instead, what I’m dealing with is stage 3 breast cancer that is in my lymphs. I need you to get your mammograms.”
While many know the fight against cancer can be just as debilitating as the cancer itself, Lewis shared that she’s taking a holistic approach that is working for her so far – even if it hasn’t cured it yet totally.
“I have been doing 1000 percent alternative and natural protocols and treatments and I have helped this particular condition not spread like wildfire through my body,” Lewis said while she paused to fight back tears. “That’s good news, but it’s not gone, and I still have a lot of work to do. And, I wish I could go back.”
See the clip below.