Restaurateur and former model B. Smith (full name Barbara Smith) is battling Alzheimer’s disease, an illness that plagues more than five million Americans.
Smith was one of the first African-American models on the cover of Mademoiselle. In 1986, Smith opened her first restaurant in New York City, and two more followed in Washington, DC and Sag Harbor, NY. She also hosted a half-hour television show, “B. Smith With Style” for the Discovery channel and those shows still air now on Bounce TV.
Last February, AlwaysAList.com reported that Smith and her husband of 22 years Dan Gasby would host a Sirius XM Radio called “The B. Smith and ‘Thank You Dan’ Show” on Urban View channel 128. That show was short-lived.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News, the 64-year-old lifestyle maven revealed her Alzheimer’s diagnosis—something that AlwaysAList.com learned of several months ago.
“It meant something bad – really bad to me,” Smith said of the realization she had disease.
The home interior designer – who has a line of products and cook books in Bed Bath & Beyond – met with her doctor and revealed the symptoms she was experiencing. The symptoms included repeating things or not answering questions and they were becoming very serious. Smith met with her doctor even before disclosing her concerns to her husband.
Last October, medical experts performed a special scan on Smith to look for amyloid, a sticky protein that damages nerves and is present in patients with Alzheimer’s. Her doctor realized it was everywhere.
The Pittsburgh-bred entrepreneur’s symptoms have progressed and she remains optimistic about her future.
“I think the future’s going to be fine,” she said. “I’m going to do my best to make it work out for me, and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.”
When Smith conducted her interview with CBS News, she could not recall the date, month or year. “Things like that make me very sad,” she acknowledged.
AlwaysAList.com saw Smith at her New York City restaurant late last October. After dinner with Sherri Shepherd from “The View” and Carla Hall of “The Chew,” we realized that she just didn’t seem quite like herself.
Having regularly encountered her at her now defunct B. Smith’s establishment in Washington, DC and even participating in some P&G appearances with her in Cincinnati, Smith was typically a vibrant, sprightly woman who was engaging and charismatic. That night in October, it was like the light had been turned off.
Our prayers are with B. Smith and you can see more of her interview with CBS News on their “Sunday Morning” broadcast on June 15.