Inspired by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ successful “State Of Emergency: The State of Black America & Coronavirus” town hall, “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a platform that is designed to report news from the perspective of Black people for Black people.
Last night’s (July 23) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “We Gon’ Be Alright” discussed the mental health struggles of celebrity status in the public eye and the overall mental health of the Black community during Coronavirus. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Charlamagne Tha God, G Herbo, Selena Hill, Tina Lawson, Junior Galette, Kimberly Jones, Danielle Young, Dr. Joy, Darian Hall, Shaun King, Shar Bates and more.
Williams opened up the show by welcoming Charlamagne. As he unpacked his personal experiences with anxiety and going to therapy, the radio personality also touched on his ascension with his New York Times best-selling books and the skyrocketing fame of “The Breakfast Club” show, and how it impacted his mental health. “You can’t really protect your peace. When are you alone? When are you ever completely shut off?” he asked Williams about being scrutinized in the public eye.
Charlamagne continued to describe the ongoing internal battle of defending a public figure’s brand in the comment section versus not giving it too much energy. “You have to come to a point where you just realize the way other people feel about you is not the way you should feel about yourself,” he advised. As the conversation began to shift to the topic of Kanye West and how the Black community has responded, Williams admitted to not wanting to initially speak on the matter because she believed it would be “out of bounds.”
“We do not consistently take his mental health seriously and when we don’t, we just say it’s antics, he’s crazy, or he’s cancelled,” she said. “It’s not consistent and we need to work on that as a community.”
Following words on mental health from Kerry Washington, Kendrick Sampson, Taraji P. Henson, Kid Cudi, and Dwayne Johnson, Williams returned for last night’s headlines. They included President Trump’s first time advocating for face masks, federal agents arresting protestors in Portland, the GOP remaining divided on the issue of another stimulus check distribution, and Tina Knowles-Lawson and Leigh Chapman’s active role in the “Heroes Act” bill. After the news breakdown, Hill introduced herself as well as NFL free agent Junior Galette. Galette reflected on his own unfortunate experience with the police during an arrest back in 2017 and how the NFL responded. “How am I supposed to avoid the police when I’m seven-times more likely to run into interactions than my white counterparts? That’s why it’s unfair,” said Galette regarding the disciplinary action the NFL threatened to take. He continued to call out the league by demanding change from the inside starting with representation on management teams.
Journalist, writer and producer Young joined Williams to discuss Black excellence in entertainment. Topics included Yara Shahidi and her mother Keri signing an overall deal with ABC for their production company, 7th Sun Productions; Devon Franklin’s overall deal with CBS TV Studios, and Idris Elba receiving the BAFTA TV Special Award for championing diversity through talent and television. “Diversity doesn’t speak to just Blackness. I think that’s what a lot of people have mistaken when you hear the word ‘diversity,’ especially in the entertainment industry,” Young said.
Rapper and mental health advocate G Herbo joined Williams for the next segment to discuss overall mental health disparities, healing, and maintenance in the Black community. Regarding his latest studio album, PTSD, the artist expanded on the meaning behind the album title, his own diagnosis with post-traumatic stress disorder, and demystifying the stigma that the mental disorder only stems from going to war.
“It’s really just reliving any post-traumatic event [or] any type of event that affects your mental [health]. At least 80% of us are suffering from it and we don’t even know, and I was one of those people,” G Herbo admitted. “I wanted to talk about that in a way where people could understand and not judge me.” The rapper also opened up about his positive experiences in therapy since his initial visit. “Going to therapy will help you learn more about yourself,” he said before speaking on his mental health initiative, “Swerving Through Stress,” where he is working to give 150 Black kids access to therapy and therapeutic helplines for 12 weeks.
Inspired by his own experiences with therapy and the need for a listening ear at a young, impressionable age, G Herbo is using “Swerving Through Stress” to reach the children who may not have the emotional support or financial stability to properly heal from their own mental health issues. “We really have to get to the root of the problem and try to make a difference where we can make a difference,” the rapper said passionately.
Therapy For Black Girls founder Dr. Joy Harden Bradford was then introduced by Williams as “an expert in the field” ahead of their discussion on mental health and racial reconciliation in the midst of this pandemic. “What’s really important here is that we, as a community, are taking care of our mental health and our mental wellbeing,” said Williams. “We all have mental health that we need to tend to. We all have to take care of our mental health and there are everyday things that we can be doing to make sure we are trying to optimize our mental wellness,” Dr. Joy said in agreement about the Black community helping themselves, and internal support when seeing celebrities such as Amanda Seales, Nick Cannon and Tamar Braxton publicly go through the motions of every day mental health. Dr. Joy listed regulated physical activity, and leaning on our close circles and support system as some of the ways to optimize wellness.
Regarding mental health in relation to the stress of the pandemic and social distancing, Dr. Joy encourages the Black community to practice giving themselves grace in lieu of the very stressful times we’re in now. “It’s also important to be comfortable asking for help right now,” Dr. Joy added about the pride and strength of the Black community, and the spike of anxiety and sense of control loss. “You are likely going to need to ask for help if you haven’t already.”
Darian Hall, co-founder of HealHaus; and Yolo Akili Robinson, executive director of B.E.A.M, joined to highlight their safe spaces for the Black community and create conversations around mental health with their platforms.
“As we continue to tap into our sacred minds, our insights, it’s important that we keep in mind history, memories and legacy, and there’s no greater legacy than that of John Lewis,” Williams said as she closed. She continued to stress the importance of preserving our legacy, and paid homage as she reflected on his fight for our people. She also discussed the initiative to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after the civil rights icon who marched on it during Bloody Sunday. Williams encouraged REVOLT viewers to sign the petition at JohnLewisBridge.com before listing the plethora of mental health resources for Black and brown people.