According to a few hip hop artists who were special guests at REVOLT WORLD, Black men don’t like to be judged or deemed weak for sharing their feelings.
Royce da 5’9″ moderated a panel that included G Herbo, Styles P, Fivio Foreign and Dr. Jeff J. Rocker where they focused on how mental health fits into the culture. Following the men talking about how being prepared for what came with being famous, they dived deep into how cultural factors and society’s expectations in the hip hop community affect the way that mental health is perceived and addressed.
Chicago native G Herbo expressed his sentiments around how it’s expected for men, especially Black men, to show themselves in a strong, resilient light since they’re supposed to be providers, which has had a negative impact because humans are complex and have a range of emotions.
“We stigmatized because, as a Black man, every Black man could attest to this … I need help. We ain’t asking nobody for nothing. We just learned [that]. That’s generational trauma from our fathers and our grandfathers. You don’t ask no man for nothing. We look at it like a weakness,” the “PTSD” rapper disclosed.
“Like me coming to you, knowing you would give it to me out of the kindness of your heart. We still ain’t even gonna come and ask for the help … If we got the help, we got the resources, you could lean on somebody. Why not lean on them, you feel what I’m saying? We need it.”
This caused Fivio to jump in the conversation to propose a couple of other reasons he personally doesn’t feel safe to open up when he’s struggling with a situation or needs assistance. “You try to get help from somebody and later on they end up throwing it in your face ‘cause they have bad intentions,” the New York native said.
“You tell a girl your problem or whatever you feeling and s**t, she get to arguing with you … she start arguing with you and she starts [to throw it back in your face],” the drill rapper added.
After debating about hip hop artists not only rapping about their trauma but solutions, Styles P chimed in to defend the genre. “We don’t give ourselves enough credit in hip hop. We are the genre, we are here right now talking about mental health. When me and you was coming up, I’ll be 49 in November, it was, ‘That n**ga’s crazy and that’s it. Yo, that motherf**ker’s crazy. That n**ga’s crazy.’ Everybody had an uncle that needed, had mental health problems. All you said is, ‘That n**ga’s crazy.’ And that’s where it was. But now today, we got a room full of people, we’re talking about mental health and it’s the hip hop genre,” he said.
“So you have to look at the bad things, but you have to look at the good things too and take that into consideration. But, what we’re doing right now, I don’t see rock and roll doing this right now. Yeah, I don’t see jazz doing this right now. I don’t see heavy metal, I don’t see all these other genres. I see us doing it.”
The LOX group member then talked about understanding that there typically has to be a balance in everything, so the focus shouldn’t only be songs in hip hop that promote growth and healing.
“You gotta focus on the positive and say we’re doing what we have to do because we are talking about mental therapy. And I don’t think it’s so much of a stigma. I really think it’s the fact that … sh**t, think about it yourselves. How many of your homeboys you actually tell your problems? So, you’re not even used to telling people you love what’s going on with you because you so much in the struggle or the one who’s chasing a dollar,” the Juices For Life owner explained. “So, it’s not just a stigma if you’re not familiar with telling people you love how you feeling … you ain’t gonna be just an open book to running and talking to a stranger.
“Someone has to teach you that that’s okay. And that’s probably more safer and you probably say more s**t than you want to say because now you’re not worried about hurting nobody’s feelings,” he continued. “So we’re becoming an open book and it is gonna continue to keep growing because as you say, I’m glad to be a soon-to-be 49-year-old man looking at you [Dr. Rocker], a young Black therapist. Appreciate that. That’s out here talking to all of these people. So we, yeah, we have a lot of work to do, but we already moving forward, so let’s salute ourselves.”