Mental Health is the New Black

How Hip Hop Normalized Mental Health And Why You Should Thank the Artists

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Religion stood in the middle of the nihilism and offered black people an outlet for their hopelessness. The church became a place where people could go and be empowered, have a platform for leadership, and most of all served as a place to express their pain and emotion.

But the almost fanatical attachment to the church has also slowed down the conversation. Nothing encapsulates this more to me than the texts from the great black writers such as Richard Wright and James Baldwin.

How else can we as a society justify our acceptance of mass violence in movies like the Joker movie and struggle with the anger and trauma evidenced by characters like Killmonger in Black Panther?

Society expects white people to struggle with mental illness and it is common in pop music. It has rarely been honored in art forms like hip-hop. Some would struggle to think of songs that even addressed. However, we’ve frequently listened to heard the songs of artists like the Geto Boys and their hit single Mind Playing Tricks on Me or DMX- Slippin.

What few will admit or acknowledge is that the trend of people using their struggles with depression and anxiety stems from the legitimate struggles of impoverished and ignored individuals who chartered unknown territory.

So thank you Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Mac Miller, Lil Uzi Vert, XXXtentacion, and countless others for making humanity acceptable.

Avid reader, writer. Man of Alpha. Educator. Coach. Wisdom of Solomon. Follow me @samuelhwright.com

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