My heart was heavy with sincerity and sympathy for Kid Cudi and Kanye West. As I read Kid Cudi's tweets admitting that he needed help to cope with his mental health; as well as reading Kanye West was admitted to the hospital for psychosis it truly broke my heart. As someone who grew up listening and idolizing Cudi and Kanye, it was upsetting but also liberating to read that they were finally deciding to get help. Black men finally admitting to issues that have a cultural and societal stigma in the media felt like a breath of fresh air.
Just like them, my own personal issues with mental health were difficult to comfort. I recently asked myself, why are we NOW talking about mental health issues? Why has it taken so long for us to have open discussions about this?
We are so quick to diagnose someone suffering from a mental illness, as CRAZY. Our community has different definitions of “crazy”. We have always been taught to dismiss the signs, ignore, simply say it doesn’t exist or consider it personal weakness. Those suffering from mental sickness are told to “put it in god’s hands.” Religion doesn’t always fix the problem. We create emotional detachments from our own spirtual being. Why are we being cruel to ourselves?
Everybody experiences mental health situations or know of someone that has. Yet somehow the notion of a person dealing with mental health can be seen as an inferior issues. Notably black men's masculinity is always ridiculed. Kid Cudi and Kanye received an overwhelming outpour of love and concern. Yet many people exhibited backlash and negativity towards them!
When Men are rarely able to confront these problems within themselves or with others. There’s an immense pressure from society and culture for men to not be seen as vulnerable. Men can not show any emotion or affection. Society describes nurturing or paternal as feminine qualities. We neglect that a man could fit this image. Men aren't allowed to show any sign of weakness. This is as damaging to the mind as it is to the soul.
From a young age, we teach little boys that men NEED to be seen as tough and rough while little girls and women are soft and sweet. Society creates gendered bias opinions and force these beliefs onto young kids. Questioning young boys level of masculinity affects men in their development as men and how the rest of us perceives men. When we refer to them as “little man” we create this persona of an unbreakable man from youth. Cultural stigmas perpetuate this ideology.
Black men can’t be seen as weak. Black men are the embodiment of struggle and have to portray strength at ALL given time. Historically black men have faced enormous adversatives from slavery to Jim Crow, scientific experiments, organ trafficking to police brutality, melanin men have yet to receive therapy for these generational traumas. Our men's daily routine is that of survive. Black men didn’t and still in some ways don’t have a choice but to be strong, protective, and powerful not only for their family but for their life.
This generational ideology is a false belief that needs to be destroy. Black masculinity can be expressed through soft feelings or emotional tranquility. At the end of the day, we are human. Everyone has emotions. This doesn’t make you any less of a woman or man. Seeking help for your mental health is a sign of love and gratitude for yourself. It is not a sign of defeat or weakness. Kid Cudi and Kanye West are the just the beginning of black men admitting that they do hurt. Mental health is a valid illness that needs careful attention.
Admitting you have a problem is raising support and awareness for other people of color, men, or women that might feel that they couldn’t. Thank You to Kanye West and Kid Cudi. We believe in you in your healing and growth.