Chance The Rapper Has “No Problem” Opening Up About Black Mental Health
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From winning three Grammy’s to donating $1M to the Chicago Public Schools, Chance the Rapper is definitely winning right now.
After the controversial cover story from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago native sat down with Complex for an in-depth interview about his life as a father and opened up about his anxiety.
“I think anxiety is also something that I’m just now being exposed to. A really big conversation and idea I’m getting introduced to right now is black mental health. ‘Cause for a long time that wasn’t a thing that we talked about. I don’t remember people talking about anxiety; I don’t remember, when I was growing up, that really being a thing.”
And he’s right. Black mental health is not something we really talk about and when we do have conversations about the internal issues we’re having, we often told to just “pray about it.”
A study from Newport Academy reports that anxiety disorders are the MOST common mental illness in the US affecting 40 million of us, ages 18 and older.
During the interview, Chance mentioned that part of his anxiety may stem from seeing friends die right in front of him. In talking about how he’s coping with his anxiety he admitted that he’s hesitant to make medications.
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“I’m cool with self-medication—I like to smoke weed and shit to chill out,” he said. He said he also puts in trust in the Lord. “I think I could to a certain extent have PTSD,” he said. “But nah. I don’t got no PTSD. I don’t ever want to convince myself that I’m hindered by any of my experiences. I also believe in G-O-D. Everything that’s happened in my life, [someone] already knows that that shit happened, and what’s going to happen and put things in place for certain things to happen.”
While Chance’s interview sheds much-needed light on Black mental health, it’s another example of why it’s so important to have more conversations about mental health in the Black community.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), there are various reasons that prevent African Americans from seeking treatment and receiving quality care. Those reasons include lack of information and misunderstanding about mental health, faith, spirituality and community, negative side effects from medications and provider bias and inequality of care.
Although we have obstacles we still need to overcome, we salute those who have been transparent about their mental state and have initiated insightful conversations. In recent years, more hip hop artists have been open about their mental health and have played a role in removing the stigma with having an open discussion about their internal battles.
J.Cole revealed that as he worked on his album, Born Sinner, he was battling negative thoughts. Kendrick Lamar had suicidal thoughts will working on To Pimp A Butterfly. Last year, Kid Cudi announced he had checked himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges.”
We’re remaining hopeful as mental health is becoming less of a taboo topic in our community. We’re also rooting for Chance and appreciate him being sharing his story.