Chance The Rapper is working to put his “dark days” behind him and his mental well-being in the forefront.
In the last couple of years the “No Problem” rapper has become a mental health advocate, especially in the Black community, where he says men are often taught that vulnerability is a weakness.
While sharing his personal experience with therapy on the Facebook Watch series “Peace of Mind with Taraji” he opened up about about his own mental health struggles.
“I deal with PTSD,” he told hosts Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade.
As an adult the “No Problem” rapper says he can see how the narrative of men not showing vulnerability and growing up in Chicago where gun violence can feel normal made it easy to become numb to death happening around him.
“I saw my friend killed in front of me when I was 19. I’ve seen people I didn’t know get killed too, and you become kind of like numb to it,” he shared. He continued, “Somebody else died last week. But it stays with you, you know what I mean? And you don’t realize until later [that] it could have lasting effects.”
Chicago has long been riddled with crime, in particular gun violence. In October new crime stats revealed that year-to-date the Midwest city has recorded 3,766 shooting-related deaths, almost a 10 percent increase compared to last year’s stats for the same time period.
The rapper further explained that the realities of gun violence only make it that much more challenging for men to open up about the traumas they experience.
“I think Black men are naturally guarded. You kind of have to be… your weakness is preyed upon,” he added. “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.”
To help others access mental health resources the rapper donated $1 million through his nonprofit Socialworks to help others.
“Mental health and mental wellness are extremely important to me and everybody because we all know people that are affected by it,” he said while appearing on “Good Morning America” in 2019. “We all can be affected by it.”