Without a doubt, hip-hop and pop music have an immeasurable impact on our culture and daily lives. In an environment that promotes braggadocios lyricism and masculine themes, what happens when an artist suffers from mental health issues? While there are many artists trying to break the stigma, there are still more walls that need to be torn down. This is not a criticism of hip-hop; rather, the culture it promotes which, forces artists who are struggling to maintain an image suitable to their industry. This narrow box the artists are often placed in removes the freedom of expression that should come with being an 'artist'. This is where Kid Cudi is working to change things.
Kid Cudi Is Helping To Change This
Scott Mescudi, more commonly known as Kid Cudi, earlier this month let fans know that he will be taking a break from music as he checked himself into rehab. Kid Cudi, has sold a combined 10.5 million records, created chart topping songs, and worked with acts like Kanye West. He has described his bout with anxiety as a 'raging violent storm inside his heart at all times'. He goes on to say that he doesn't know what peace feels like, doesn't know how to relax, and that he feels 'tired of being held back in his life.'
I feel like shit, I feel so ashamed. I'm sorry.
These statements resonate with those who have suffered with anxiety. It is often hard enough to admit to yourself, let alone to admit to the world that you have struggled with your mental health. Sharing this through social media can be especially difficult simply because of the anonymous nature of the internet. Those who don't know you are given the ability to criticize from behind their screens. Despite the potential for negative reactions I think its very important that he decided to personally share this news online, rather than letting a PR agent release an official statement. What this does is encourage others break the stigma surrounding mental health, especially among his fans.
Too often we think masculinity means hiding your emotions or handling things on your own. Hip hop artists almost always adopt a persona that is hyper-masculine. More than 500,000 people have reacted to Kid Cudi's status and surely a good bulk of his 10.3 million followers have seen the post. Whether they pondered it themselves, or perhaps discussed it with others, people are talking and we are moving forward. I think music can be a tremendous vehicle for helping people and spreading the word on mental health, but before this can blossom to its full potential, we need to create the proper environment to do so.
When artists increase transparency and share things as personal as this, it is a tremendous step in the right direction. I applaud Kid Cudi's actions and wish him strength in his journey with rehab.