News recently broke that, rapper/actor, Kid Cudi will be checking himself into rehab for depression & suicidal thoughts. He released a personal message on his Facebook page where he went in depth discussing how long he has been battling depression, which spans back to his introduction into the public eye. Cudi has flown under the radar for a little while but has been popping in and out of the scene in different acting roles and musical releases. He is currently releasing music in the upcoming months, but Cudi candidly revealed his reclusiveness was due to his depressive experience:
“My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I can’t make new friends because of it. I don’t trust anyone because of it and I’m tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me?”
After reading Kid Cudi’s open letter, I found it imperative to discuss the conflict between black male identity and psychological struggles. On a personal level, I have battled for many years with depression and balancing for as long as I can remember. Despite my outgoing demeanor, my vast experiences of friendship, deep faith, joyous times, creative expression, and any other counteraction to it depression has, and can, linger in the shadows. For black males like myself and Kid Cudi admittance of a struggle has a sense of “weakness” attached to it.
We have historically had our masculinity challenged, broken, and redefined. The hyper-masculinity projections on our culture have made innocent children turn to macho-boys in an effort to not seem under developed or lacking in strength. Not to mention, the constant state of visual & direct trauma from seeing people that look like them murdered and marginalized. We hold our heads up, assimilate, and do our best to not display the unattended turmoil within us.
For myself, and maybe many others, much of my stress and emotional yo-yoing comes from self-inflicted decisions and concerns. Although, it is human nature to consider one’s value and purpose in our world for many black men it is compounded with a need to define worthiness and often times prove that to those watching. We, as Cudi referenced, feel ashamed to discuss our lowness. Our battles come from various places and I cannot say where the root of Cudi’s struggles stem, but I can say I relate.
Kid Cudi’s public admittance has opened a door for other men, black particularly, to speak up about their challenges with mental stability under the hashtag #YouGoodMan. In the black community, it is taboo to seek help for emotional distress due to the idea that blacks are meant to be strong and faithful. Not acknowledging that strength is in numbers and faith is best rewarded when shared.
I recently wrote a piece entitled, “Black Men Are Going Crazy: Exploring the Psyche of Black Men” where I discussed the necessity for Black Males to know needing and seeking help is okay. In all fairness from a historical perspective, if any group of people needed space to heal the African American community would have priority on such a list. In my years of growth and battle, I have come to realize strength is found in the battle, not the victory. We do not know what anyone is silently facing, and our need for understanding and compassion is paramount.
On behalf of all those who can relate, I say to Kid Cudi there is no shame in bettering yourself. There is no judgment in healing, and there is no disregard in love. Your courage inspires more than you know, your transparency is healing, and your desire for wellness is humanity. I am willing to bet this decision by Kid Cudi will result in an overwhelming outpour of support. Deservingly so. We are not invincible humans, though we are close to it, we are mortal and our success and well-being are directly proportionate to the stability of our mind. I support Kid Cudi and look forward to the birth of inspiration and elevation he will receive from this journey to emotional sobriety.