Mental health is notoriously overlooked within the music industry – especially by the BAME community. Laura Mvula and Kehlani are two recent examples of people within the music industry who have stepped forward to talk about their experiences with mental health issues, both providing a visibility for women of colour dealing with similar experiences which is often a rarity in the public eye.
What about visibility for men of colour? A report conducted by Lambeth Council back in 2014 found that “black men are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious mental health illness than their white counterparts.” Kendrick Lamar’s ‘u’ addresses his dealings with depression and more recently we have heard of Kid Cudi’s ongoing difficulty with suicidal urges. UK’s very own dubstep DJ and producer Benga was diagnosed with schizophrenia last year and bi-polar and said in a feature in the Guardian that “this industry is all about perception: a lot of people wouldn’t want anybody to think they’re weak, or that they can’t do what they do, or that they’re not cool”.
With this DIY generation of so-called “millenials” striving to create our own paths and opportunities, it is often easy to forget when you’re doing too much and mentally wear yourself out. Recovr is a website that was recently launched by Sait Cham has set itself the task of trying to address the lack of support for mental health issues, seeking out Afro-Caribbean therapists for young Afro-Caribbean people.
Fresh off the road from supporting Loyle Carner on his UK tour finishing in Manchester last night, Louis VI (one half of Othasoul) has released his latest single, ‘Question Mark’, tackling his personal struggle with depression, and the expectations that are heavily placed on the shoulders of young people to succeed.
On the track, Louis VI talks about his own experiences trying to navigate his own path as a musician and the state of his identity in the face of pressure and uncertainty.
“The first thing everyone seems to ask is ‘are you making money, are you successful?’ I felt like people were questioning my every move, questioning if I was doing it right, even questioning me as a person; in the end basically labelling me as a question mark. So I decided to embrace that and try and be a voice for the people that don’t have all their shit together like me. Sometimes you got be like ‘fuck it, don’t overthink this, just do you’.”
‘Question Mark’ which features spellbinding vocals from singer-songwriter Denai Moore, is the next solo single from north London native, Louis VI.
‘Question Mark’ is available to purchase from iTunes here.