Mental health talk has been at the forefront of discussion lately; what with Pete Davidson‘s recent social media scare and Kanye West‘s outspoken stance in the media. Even Nicki Minaj has weighed in on the topic, imploring more empathy of fans who’ve been “flippant” about the subject in recent weeks. Now, Jada Pinkett Smith is joining the discussion on her Red Table Talk Facebook series with an interview with Kid Cudi, one of hip-hop’s poster children for mental health awareness for the past few years.
Jada explains that her reason for wanting to bring Cudi on the show is due to their shared struggles with mental health; both had expressed feeling depressed, anxious, and suicidal at points in their careers despite a high level of success, so she wanted him to share his story with her viewers. As she puts it in her intro, “Being a hip-hop icon, a lot of people would think that he would be exempt from that kind of suffering, but he’s not. None of us are.” Cudi joins Jada, her daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris for an important discussion of a sensitive topic that is only recently getting the attention it deserves.
In one important moment, Cudi explains how and when he knew he needed to get help. “For a long time, I was not happy when I woke up in the morning,” he elaborated. “I thought maybe it was stress. At that point, I was doing an album every year so I thought I was just overdoing it and I needed to take a break. It took me a minute to realize that there was something going wrong with me.” Cudi posted about getting treatment in 2016, taking a break from touring and making music that was broken this year with the collaborative project Kids See Ghosts with Kanye West.
With more and more artists, such as Cudi, Logic, and even Lil Xan coming forward to discuss issues like mental health and being open with their struggles, hopefully, they can spark a meaningful dialogue that leads to a lasting change in the perception and handling of the subject within hip-hop. So many rappers struggle with drug addictions due to untreated mental health issues, which reflects a larger issue in American society. Only an open and honest appraisal of how those issues affect us can help ensure that there are fewer overdoses and suicides and more real treatments.