Nick Cannon announced on his Fox Network daytime television show that his youngest son, Zen Cannon, passed away on Sunday due to a form of brain cancer.
Zen Cannon was Nick’s with Wild N’ Out model Alyssa Scott. The five-month-old infant died from a condition called hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain.
“I didn’t know how I was going to handle today. But I wanted to grieve with my family.” Cannon said while revealing the news to his audience.
Nick Cannon’s loss is tragic and I pray for his family and friends as they work through the grief. But it also opens the door for a broader conversation about the high infant mortality rate among black babies.
The CDC defines infant mortality as the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births.
Some of the leading causes of infant mortality include birth defects, preterm birth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, as well as complications during pregnancy.
In 2019, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.
According to the CDC, In 2018, black babies had the highest infant mortality rate among any race, almost three times higher than their white counterparts. Among black babies, there were 10.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, as compared to 4.6 White babies per 1,000 live births.
2018, infant mortality rates by race and ethnicity:
* Non-Hispanic black: 10.8
* Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 9.4
* American Indian/Alaska Native: 8.2
* Hispanic: 4.9
* Non-Hispanic white: 4.6
* Asian: 3.6
Black people don’t have an abortion problem, they have an infant mortality problem and the sooner we embrace this unfortunate fact, the sooner we can solve the problem.
Our communities need adequate prenatal care and our black mothers need doctors they can trust. Black mothers are twice as likely to receive late or no prenatal care as compared to white mothers. This major issue has gone under the radar for far too long. It’s time we as black people start ringing the alarm because if we don’t, who else will?