Things took an emotional turn on Feb. 6 during “Black Ink Crew: Chicago” after co-star Phor Brumfield opened up about his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Over the past few weeks the Chicago rapper shared several Instagram posts about depression and suicide that many might have assumed were merely promotions for his new single “Help,” not allusions to his own struggles. On Wednesday’s tear-jerker episode, Brumfield revealed that he’s been living with depression for quite some time and often has suicidal thoughts. He told his longtime friend Charmaine Walker that he felt he was “better off dead.”
As Walker tries to console Brumfield, 9 MAG owner Ryan Henry stepped in and asked to speak to his friend alone. Henry who was extremely “hurt” and upset, hugged Brumfield and told him, “This s–t may be hard, but you ain’t gotta do it on your own. … I love you. You’re the s–t. You’re worth something! You’re valuable.”
Henry said he considers Brumfield like a little brother to him and will never turn his back on him.
“I know Phor better and longer than a lot of people that surround us, so this ain’t our first conversation [and] this ain’t the first time we’ve been through this,” said Henry. “If you tell me that you want to potentially just check out, that ain’t nothing I’m just gone let happen.”
Van Johnson interjects and tells Brumfield that “everybody got your back.” Brumfield responded by telling Johnson and Walker that his goal for the day was to drown himself “in the pool.” Johnson who was heartbroken by his friend’s words, refused to leave his side and slept on the edge of Brumfield’s bed. Walker also suggested to Brumfield that he seek professional help, but the tattoo artist said he just wanted to “sleep” on it.
The next day of filming, Brumfield sneaked out of the house and went missing, according to producers. The show’s staff became highly concerned as they scrambled to find him. Henry refused to film until he was able to get in touch with Brumfield. Both Johnson and Walker eventually called the rapper’s brother Don Brumfield who revealed that Phor had been diagnosed with depression since they were children. He also explained that mental illness runs in their family. His and Phor’s sister Jasmine committed suicide last year at age 24.
Phor eventually got in contact with Johnson, but told him to meet him without any cameras. On a separate call to producers, Johnson told producers he and Phor were heading to Atlanta to be with Phor’s family.
Since the airing of Wednesday night’s episode, “Black Ink Crew: Chicago” viewers have sent nothing but “get well” wishes the Chicago rapper’s way:
“This had me crying 😢 Phor u got this, u r strong and know we’re all praying for you 🙏🏾.”
“You a very much loved Phor. Keep your head up young man sending you nothing but positivity and well wishes 🙏💕
“This episode saved my life thank you so much 💕 I’m praying for you man.”
Phor has since responded to the airing of last night’s episode on Instagram, seemingly thanking those who support him.
“Strong enough for everyone else but myself,” he wrote. “Sorry if i let who i inspire down … 😓🙏🏾Love y’all #NMOL.”