Chance the Rapper opened up about some of the darkest days he’s experienced in the latest episode of Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji.
Chance helped co-hosts Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade unpack the cultural pressure “manning up” has on Black men — and how that pressure affects the group’s mental health. This week’s guests problem-solved how we as a community can “make it safer” for Black men to share their truths.
“I’ve done relationship counseling, which was extremely helpful in my marriage, and we still occasionally do meet with our counselor,” Chance shared candidly on the show that aired November 1. “But, I don’t have a therapist. And I believe in therapy — I’m just — I don’t necessarily trust going to a stranger and telling them everything about my life. I’ve been through a lot of stuff.”
“Trust is probably the number one reason why specifically, African-Americans do not go to therapy,” Jade poignantly highlighted afterward. “It takes a lot for us to trust you with our information.”
When Taraji asked Chance if he’s had any “dark days” in the past when his mental and emotional health were tested, the “No Problem” rapper was frank about some of the harsh realities he’s endured.
“A lot of dark days… Yeah,” the rapper told Taraji. “I saw my friend killed in front of me when I was 19. I seen people I didn’t know get killed too, and you become kind of like numb to it. Like, ‘Somebody else died last week.’ But it stays with you, you know what I mean? And you don’t realize until later. Like it could have lasting effects and stuff.”
“I think Black men are naturally guarded,” Chance explained later. Addressing the pressures many Black men feel and their conditioning, he said, “You kind of have to be… your weakness is preyed upon. So, I think it’s a defense mechanism. You go to a funeral [and] like you kind of don’t want to cry, you know what I mean? You don’t want to subject yourself to the feeling of like, that weakness, you know? It just takes a lot to be cathartic, to cry, to empty yourself.”
Chance also shared what he thinks it’ll take to get Black men to open up — something equally as important as why they don’t.
“So, leading by example, fo’ sho,” Chance mentioned. “When you show emotion, it allows other people to show emotion. [Try] to give your kids and the people that you influence a space to talk through how they feel and a space to feel how they feel.”
In addition to donating to mental health services via his non-profit SocialWorks, the Chicago native is known for his rap skills just as much as his philanthropy. While he was honest about not knowing how to solve the widespread and insidious problem of “manning up” related to Black men and the Black community as a whole, Chance did reiterate that “speaking about how you feel” was a great place for everyone to start.
Monday’s episode of “Peace of Mind with Taraji” also highlighted the experiences of 19-year-old mental health advocate Shemar Magee and shared insight from therapist Rwenshaun Miller.
Watch the full episode via Facebook Watch here.