For decades the “B” was for beautiful — now it’s also for brave.
Legendary model and entrepreneur B. Smith — one of the first black faces to grace the cover of “Mademoiselle” — has gone public with her fight with Alzheimer’s disease.
Her husband had noticed something was a little off, too. "You know, going from being a multitask person to more of a sequential person, which was different, or doing things that were a little out of the ordinary, sort of like, "'Well, what was that?,'" said Dan Gasby.
When Smith, iconic model, restaurateur and effervescent host of the popular TV show "B. Smith with Style" took her concerns to the doctor, the diagnosis was heart-breaking: it was Alzheimer's disease.
The willowy former model is battling the progressive condition that affects the brain and brings on gradual dementia that can become severe.
“It meant something bad, really bad,” she said, when asked if she knew what Alzheimer’s meant.
Later, asked if she knows the date, Smith struggled and failed to name the day, month or year.
“Things like that make me very sad,” Smith said, tears welling in her eyes.
Four years ago the successful businesswoman — who parlayed her fresh-faced good looks into a chain of restaurants and lucrative design career — went to her doctor to discuss some disturbing symptoms.
That message may be especially important for African Americans and Hispanics. According to the Alzheimer's Association, African-Americans are twice as likely as Whites to develop the disease, while Hispanics are one-and-a-half times as likely as Whites to develop it.