BE YOUR OWN PILOT
DISCOVER YOUR POWER
ABOUT MY STRENGTH MY SONG
"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." -James Baldwin
In 1976, Ntozake Shange published a groundbreaking play titled "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide /When The Rainbow Is Enuf." As a writer and artist, Shange wanted to shed light on the dark reality of violence and oppression that many African American women faced but were too ashamed to voice. I've always admired Shange for her bravery and honesty. It is not easy for anyone to admit that they have struggled with depression. But there is power in a role model using his or her pain to using your pain to bring light to someone's darkness.
Currently, there is a crisis for boys. As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reconcile that many black and brown men are considering suicide. Despite the many conversations surrounding mental health, the number of young men succumbing to depression is rising at an alarming rate.
I'm not a therapist, but neither was Ntozake Shange.
I'm not a counselor, but neither was the late congressman John Lewis who was noted for saying at many of his rallies, "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something."
In my humble opinion, much of the rise in suicides result from a lack of invested male role models for young men struggling with depression, isolation, and identity formation.
Without a firm sense of his identity, a young man can fall into the trap of believing that he is not necessary.
As an artist and educator who is deeply concerned about this mental health crisis, I hope to let other young men know that they are not alone. Most importantly, I hope to inspire young men of color to use their voices in the manner that they see fit.