Slick Woods’ Stage 3 Melanoma Diagnosis Has Sparked a Conversation About Skin Cancer Among Communities of Color
Fans of fashion model Slick Woods are in shock after the edgy alternative model took to Instagram last Wednesday to announce that she was going through chemotherapy. On November 20th, The Shade Room then exclusively announced that Woods was currently battling Stage 3 Melanoma and was “fighting for her life”. “At this time, we continue to pray for Slick’s health and that she’ll beat this disease,” The Shade Room said. “Her good spirit and will to fight is a testament to her strength and she’s certainly not alone in this fight given the outpouring of love and support from friends and fans all over the world”.
Woods’ initial hint towards her health troubles came from a photo she posted on Instagram last Wednesday. The photo was of herself, decked in a neon green ensemble, surrounded by friends and throwing her head back with her tongue sticking out. She captioned the photo: “How I feel about chemotherapy, shout out to everyone that gotta go through it #atleastimalreadybald”.
The cancer diagnosis of the model, famous for being one of the faces of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line, has rocked the fashion world.
Friends and fans have flocked to Woods’ social media accounts to express their shock, grief, and support to Woods. No one expected a seemingly healthy woman of only 23-years-old to be faced with such a challenging health battle. On Woods’ photo, fans commented with supportive statements like “You got this Queen #wearesurvivors. You have my support” and “u got this. sending prayers & love ur way”.
The diagnosis is one in a long list of challenges that Slick Woods has had to face in her life. In the past, Woods has been upfront about her difficult past. Originally raised by a single mother, and then by her grandmother after her mother was incarcerated, Woods didn’t have a permanent home during her childhood. “I had a job, I had to do things I didn’t want to do, I saw a lot of s*** I shouldn’t have seen,” she told Evening Standard magazine. Once she was on her own, Woods revealed that she battled opiod addiction while living in a “traphouse”. She scraped together cash by running credit card scams.
Woods’ diagnosis has sparked a conversation around the common misconception that people of African descent are somehow immune to skin cancer.
While statistics for skin cancer among people of African decent are lower with black people in the United States only making up 1-2% of skin cancer cases in comparison to white Americans who make up 35–45% of skin cancer cases, the truth is, anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race. In fact, the survival rate of melanoma for people of color is lower, due to the fact that there is lower public awareness in communities of color and it shows up in less-likely places (like the soles of your feet). “Melanin does confer some natural protection against the risk of skin cancers from UV, but everyone, of any complexion, is still at risk for sun-related skin cancers,” says dermatologist Dr. Andrew Alexis, the director of the Skin of Color Center in New York City. “There’s also just an overall lack of awareness that these cancers actually do occur in patients of color”.
Slick Woods’ diagnosis and battle is a reminder to everyone why regular skin cancer screenings are so important. As for Woods, we respect her request to not be treated like a victim by her fans or the media during this time. Instead, we commend Woods for her bravery and honesty about a situation that is so personal to her. Her courage and forthrightness is inspirational.
On Twitter, fans of Slick Woods have taken to the social media platform to process her shocking revelation.
It’s natural that Woods’ diagnosis would spark such a large reaction on social media–the place where she largely rose to prominence.
This fan was effusive in her praise of Slick Woods as the paradigm of female power.
i will never treat slick woods as anything less than an inspiration for us all. that woman walked for fenty and then immediately gave birth, redefines the face of fashion daily, and refuses to be made victim of her cancer. here's to you woods, kick it's ass.
— s (@DIORTHlN) November 21, 2019
Woods’ battle with cancer is simply another reasons to recognize her as the icon that she is.
This woman used Woods’ diagnosis as an opportunity to educate the public on the omnipresence of skin cancer.
Slick Wood sharing she has melanoma is an important reminder that Black people DO get skin cancer
Regularly check your skin for new or changing marks, including on the soles of your feet, palms, and under your nailshttps://t.co/VYVAVUvspN
— Samara (@Samara_Linton) November 21, 2019
Contrary to popular belief, skin cancer does not discriminate–everyone has the potential to be at risk, regardless of ethnicity.
This person is still processing the injustice of Woods’ diagnosis as a new mother.
I can’t believe slick woods has stage 3 cancer with a new born baby. That is so scary and heart breaking.
— Ashley (@ashashbaebee) November 24, 2019
It seems like just yesterday when Woods was sashaying down the catwalk with a full baby bump. Life is unpredictable.
This woman had nothing but good vibes and positive thoughts for the game-changing model.
goodnight to everyone especially slick woods sis is gonna win this fight
— anyeezus ✩*ೃ.⋆ (@anyamtisdale) November 21, 2019
The optimistic outlook is exactly the outlook that Woods is exemplifying on her own social media platforms.