Dr. Sebi – whose full name was Alfredo Darrington Bowman – was a healer and herbalist who claimed that he had cured AIDS and other ailments.
Sebi was many things; according to The Root, he was a “world-renowned vegetarian” and healer, among other things. His website lists many interests, all relating to natural healing and the effects of foods on the body.
“Dr. Sebi is a pathologist, herbalist, biochemist, and naturalist,” his website says. “He has studied and personally observed herbs in North America, Central and South America, Africa, and the Caribbean, and has developed a unique approach and methodology to healing the human body with herbs that is firmly rooted in over 30 years of experience.” The healer died, however, in 2016.
Dr. Sebi was thrust back into the news after the death of California rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot to death while planning a documentary on the herbalist. Some people also don’t buy the official account of Sebi’s own death. They believe that his natural healing teachings directly challenged the powerful drug industry.
The LAPD has identified a suspect – Eric Holder – in Hussle’s death. You can read more about the suspect here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dr. Sebi Developed a Cult-Like Following Due to His Claims That He’d Cured Many Diseases
Dr. Sebi was many things during his lifetime but, according to The Root, he developed an almost cult-like following with his claims that he had found a natural way to cure many insidious diseases.
According to The Root, this is what Sebi argued: He believed that food “is alkaline for the body, and dead foods kill your body’s natural ability to heal and regenerate healing.” His website says: “Sebi came to the United States as a self-educated man who was diagnosed with asthma, diabetes, impotency, and obesity.”
He’d grown disenchanted with western medicine and especially its reliance on pharmaceuticals. “After unsuccessful treatments with conventional doctors and traditional western medicine, Sebi was lead to an herbalist in Mexico,” his website reads. “Finding great healing success from all his ailments, he began creating natural vegetation cell food compounds geared for inter-cellular cleansing and the revitalization of all the cells that make up the human body. Dr. Sebi has dedicated over 30 years of his life to develop a unique methodology that he could only obtain through years of empirical knowledge.”
Thus, he developed a list of foods that he considered toxic to the body, and they were processed and synthetic. The Root reports they included alcohol, sugar, fried food, and iodized salt (basically the western diet.)
Sebi argued that if you replaced such toxic items with natural food items like fruit, green vegetables, raw nuts and grains, you would ignite the body’s ability to heal itself, and the possibilities were endless, reports The Root: Everything from AIDS to cancer to diabetes could be positively challenged and even cured, according to Sebi’s philosophy.
2. Dr. Sebi Died in Police Custody in Honduras
Dr. Sebi didn’t die young; however, he did die within the confines of government custody, which has led to conspiracy theories about his own death even before Nipsey Hussle died.
Dr. Sebi died in the custody of the Honduran government. According to the Source, Dr. Sebi died on August 6, 2016 in Honduran police custody. He died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 82, the site reports.
Why was he in police custody in Honduras in the first place? The Source reports that Sebi was arrested that May of 2016 at the Honduran airport and accused of money laundering along with an associate named Pablo Medina Gamboa. You can read more about Sebi’s cause of death here.
3. Conspiracy Theories Involving Dr. Sebi Emerged After Nipsey Hussle’s Death
The conspiracy theories involving Nipsey Hussle derive from Hussle revealing that he was going to make a documentary about Dr. Sebi’s death before he was gunned down. That’s led some people on Twitter to speculate the documentary gave someone a motive to essentially silence Hussle and his efforts.
“They did get you Dr. Sebi. And they probably took Nipsey Hussle too. #ripnip,” wrote one man on Twitter, echoing the thoughts of many who filled the social media platform with Sebi/Hussle conspiracy theories.
Hussle was gunned down on March 31, 2019 in Los Angeles in the parking lot of his Marathon clothing store. A community-minded rapper, he was beloved for his efforts to improve the area.
However, police sources have told news outlets that the shooting death may have been gang-related. Richard Winton, a crime journalist with the Los Angeles Times, wrote on April 1, 2019, “What is known so far in @NipseyHussle killing Shooter got close before opening fire outside Marathon. Shooter was known to Nipsey. Shooter is believed to have a gang affiliation but this isn’t a rival. The dispute is personal in nature behind the shooting.”
Nick Cannon has now suggested that he will pick up the baton and finish what Nipsey Hussle can not and bring the Dr. Sebi story to a broader audience. Judging from how quickly Sebi went viral in connection with Hussle’s death, there will probably be quite an audience for it.
“I’m gonna say this only for the real ones to recognize. Where you left off, we gonna carry one! It’s a MARATHON, so I’m picking up the baton!” Cannon wrote. “Because they can’t kill us all! Spiritual Warfare is REAL and in full effect. And now your Spirit is protecting your community eternally! Your words, your steps, your walk always was and always will be SOLID! Now, Your message is my message! Your work is my work! I know you still rocking with us and your voice will never be silenced, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Most High! So now that you are at Peace don’t Rest… Keep leading… Keep Shining King! Cosmic Love My Brotha!”
4. Dr. Sebi Left Behind 17 Children & Was the Subject of Court Cases
Dr. Sebi left behind quite a brood; he had 17 children in all, reports The Source. His wife Patsy Bowman, now carries on his work. You can read more about her here.
Sebi faced legal challenges during his life-time in America as well as Honduras. BET reports that Dr. Sebi, in the 1980s, was accused of practicing medicine without a formal license. He had his critics who did not believe what he was preaching.
In 1988, reports BET, the state of New York even sued Sebi for making “unsubstantiated therapeutic claims.” What sparked the action? According to BET, he ran paid ads in several New York newspapers in which he claimed that he’d cured AIDS.
He was ordered by the New York state attorney to remove the ads. His tangles with the government have sparked some of the conspiracy theories relating to him. You can read some of the court documents in one of the cases here.
5. Dr. Sebi Was Born in Honduras & Was Not a Practicing Physician
According to the Source, Dr. Sebi was born in Honduras and “never attended formal school.” His teachings came from his own experiences, not from books or formal education, the site reports.
“Dr. Sebi was born Alfredo Bowman on November 26, 1933, in the village of Ilanga in Spanish Honduras,” Sebi’s website says. “Dr. Sebi is a self-educated man. He took cues on being obedient to the procession of life from his beloved grandmother, ‘Mama Hay.’ His early days of play and observation by the river and in the forest, coupled with guidance from his grandmother, afforded Sebi the foundation to be obedient to the Truth in his later life.”
The questions around Dr. Sebi’s death involve the fact that, according to The Root, he was not a licensed doctor; as such, his claims of natural healing were a threat to many, including the extremely profitable global pharmaceutical industry.