Artists have long been mouthpieces for what the people are feeling. Chance the Rapper was doing just that when he spoke on his introduction to the concept of Black mental health during his latest cover story on Complex.“Yeah, definitely,” the Chicago rapper said when asked if he deals with anxiety. “But I don’t know if it’s necessarily more than anybody else in the world. I think anxiety is also something that I’m just now being exposed to. A really big conversation and idea that I’m getting introduced to right now is black mental health. ‘Cause for a long time that wasn’t a thing that we talked about. I don’t remember it. I don’t remember people talking about anxiety; I don’t remember, when I was growing up, that really being a thing.”
While it’s wonderful that Chance is taking the steps towards gaining a better understanding of mental health, it was interesting to read that he also still carries some of the very common misconceptions about it as well. To be fair, his journey is only starting.
“Now I’m starting to get a better understanding of that part of my life, [ but] I’m scared of medication and shit like that,” he continued. “I’m cool with self [medication]—I like to smoke weed and shit, to chill out, but now that I’ve gone through so many different stages in a short period of time I’m not really trying to try no new drugs, even if they prescribed. I’m chilling.”
When asked if some of the traumatic events of his life have affected him deeply enough to give him post-traumatic stress disorder, Chance acknowledged the possibility. But he quickly dismissed the idea by turning to spirituality as a defense against it.
“I think I could to a certain extent have PTSD,” he explained. “But, nah. I don’t got no PTSD. I’m chilling. I don’t ever want to convince myself that I’m hindered by any of my experiences. I also believe in G-O-D. Everything that’s happened in my life, [someone] already knows that that sh*t happened, and what’s going to happen, and put things in place for certain things to happen. So I can’t look at anything like this is a crippling event that happened in my life and now shit has changed.”
While spirituality plays an important role in the lives of millions people, it should be used in addition to safe mental health practices. Not as a replacement of them.
A mental health disorder should never be treated as a handicap. Choosing to ignore it doesn’t make it go away and could potentially make it even harder to deal with when that day comes.
With all that said, Black people are finally coming around to the concept that mental health is just as important as physical health and learning to use the resources before them and Chance is one of them.