A Celebration for Celebrities of Color

Updated: May 3

Black History Month is dedicated to remind us of the influential figures in African American history. These individuals have left behind a huge impact that is still remembered today. This year, we are choosing to shine a light on the bold heroes in Hollywood who have spoken out on their struggles with mental health. It is honorable that celebrities of color are beginning to break down stigmas regarding mental health within the black community in hopes of opening up the dialogue, creating awareness, and bringing about change.

Golden Globe winning actress, Taraji P. Henson, candidly reflected on her ongoing battles with depression and anxiety while juggling fame and her personal life. She felt the pressure of always having to appear strong before everyone, and it took a toll on her. Her mood swings prompted her to reach out for help. Therapy has made it easier to healthily manage her highs and lows. Henson’s difficult experience to seek a black therapist for her son sparked the creation of the Boris Lawrence Foundation. Its mission is to dispel stigmas in communities of color and provide counseling resources for individuals. They are working towards placing culturally competent therapists in local schools. She recently premiered her new Facebook Watch Series, Peace of Mind with Taraji. The show is dedicated to holding honest discussions surrounding mental health with her co-stars and guest appearances.

Moving towards the music industry, hip hop artist, Big Sean, conquered a brief battle with depression in the height of the release of his latest album, Detroit 2. He had taken a hiatus from the industry to rediscover his passion and focus on his well being. Feelings of doubt drove him to have suicidal thoughts. “I thought doing what I loved would always make me happy, so when I got tired of it, I was confused and it drove me insane,” stated the rapper in a series of tweets. When he returned to the scene, he was insecure and unconfident that his fans still had an interest in his music. Fortunately, his fans have been supportive in his recovery. He has since been open about speaking to a great therapist who has helped him regain a sense of clarity on life.

Stepping into R&B, singer-songwriter Tamar Braxton was hospitalized over the summer following an attempt to end her life. She spoke publicly about her loss of identity while filming the show Braxton Family Values with her famous sisters. She felt that her image was wrongfully portrayed and that the producers did not have her best interest at heart. Personal issues would be aired without her knowledge. During her first interview following the incident, she reflected on her battle with depression and her prior suicidal thoughts. “There has been a time where I wanted to, but this is the first time where I actually acted on it,” she explained to host, Tamron Hall. Tamar has since been focused on her healing and spending time with her son. Daily counseling sessions have helped her tremendously. She continues to promote the importance of acknowledging and normalizing mental illness.

It is with great honor that we celebrate all of those who have been candid and shared their testimonies with the world. Understanding that mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of celebrity status, goes to show that we all are one in the same. These celebrities serve as inspiration for others to achieve optimum health and wellness. Who inspires you?

-Jordyn Acoff-

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