(AllHipHop Opinion) So, this is July - Bebe More Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, a period of time that we hope to stop the stigma attached to mental illness/wellness. I leapt at the chance to be part of a discussion called “Embrace The Rain,” a “youth & mental health benefit” event. I shared the stage with some heavies like Pharoahe Monch, Cali Green, Felonious Munk, Danielle Young, Bassey Ikpi, Delina Medhin, Jessica La Rel and others to talk openly about the issues. #NoShame
The idea of mental health has always had a stigma attached to it, especially in the Black community. But, in my opinion, rappers helped to break the the stigma (or at least put a spotlight on it) See, Hip-Hop is inherently stuffed full of all the issues that face the community that creates it and, if you are dealing with Black and Brown people suffering trauma, you already know it gets deep. The thoughts and emotions People of Color were suddenly thrust to the forefront in the most direct way we’ve ever seen musically. It didn’t alway seem that way, because most were projecting something hardcore, cool or busy turning nothing into something. Meanwhile, many were self-medicating with drugs, alcohol or even sex or violence. It was all very self-destructive and we saw the repercussions behind it all in the worst ways.
Nowadays, we can spot it even easier, especially in the lives of XXXtentacion, Kodak Black and more in the social media feeds of damaged people whose torment is fodder for the media. Working in the “business” is a challenge. I’ll never forget the awful dread of talking about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile on TV with Tamika Mallory. I’ll always relate to the plight Chris Lighty and Skakir Stewart and, if you saw me on each of their specials, the deep, empathetic understanding is apparent. This was before I was willing to “share,” a term I initially hated but now recognize as necessary. We must remove the shame associated with with Mental wellness and illness, because lives depend on it.
Special thanks to Cali Green.