Usher advocates for diabetes awareness at Capitol Hill

The singer’s child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2014.

Usher advocates for diabetes awareness at Capitol Hill
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
June 12, 2024, 11:29 PM

Eight-time Grammy award winner Usher Raymond made a surprise appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday, urging lawmakers to make screening for Type 1 diabetes more accessible to Americans.

"Today, just talking about type 1 diabetes and early screening for type 1 diabetes," Usher, the Super Bowl LVIII performer, told ABC News after his meetings.

Usher's child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2014. Before leaving, Usher acknowledged the issue was personal to him.

Singer songwriter Usher walks through the Rayburn Room outside of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries' office at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., June 12, 2024.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"Yeah, I've been able to share my story today. Hopefully, you'll get a chance to hear more about it," he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Type 1 diabetes was once called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, and it often develops in children, teens, and young adults, but it can happen at any age.

The CDC said the disease is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. "This reaction destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells," the agency wrote on its website. "This process can go on for months or years before any symptoms appear."

Usher departs the Capitol after meeting with lawmakers to raise awareness around type 1 diabetes, on June 12, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
Ian Sbalcio/ABC News

Usher was first spotted riding the Senate Subway with Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock – then the Capitol press corps went on the hunt for the pop icon.

He made his way over to the House side, meeting with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other lawmakers as a mix of reporters and staffers congregated outside of the meeting. They patiently waited for a selfie as minutes turned to hours.

At one point, emerging from the meeting in his tan suit, undershirt, and signature shades, Usher said, "I had a great time here in D.C.," when asked about his conversations with lawmakers.

Throughout the day, the music superstar met with lawmakers in both chambers about the SCREEN for Type 1 Diabetes Act – introduced yesterday and led by Reps. Schrier, DeGette, Joyce, and Bilirakis in the House and Sens. Shaheen and Collins in the Senate. The act aims to increase public awareness of the disease, including early detection of type 1 Diabetes.

The musician Usher leaves the U.S. Capitol after meeting with members of congress about screening for type 1 diabetes, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2024.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

"He has a family relationship with the issue and he's decided to speak out to raise awareness and I'm very, very grateful to him for doing that," Rep. DeGette said after the meeting broke.

Her legislation is supported by the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and the American Medical Association, according to a release from DeGette.

Prior to leaving the Capitol, Usher shared his plan to continue fighting for the cause in the future.

"It was my first time [up here] but it won't be my last," he said.