Taraji P. Henson was honored last Friday at Variety magazine’s Power of Women New York lunch, where she emotionally discussed how mental illness affects the Black community, especially our children.
“The number of black children ages 5-12 who have died by suicide has doubled since the 1990s,” she said, according to Variety. “This is a national crisis.”
“Our vision is to eradicate the stigma around mental health in the black community by breaking the silence and breaking a cycle of shame,” the Empire star continued. “We were taught to hold our problems close to the vest out of fear of being labeled and further demonized as weak or inadequate.
Last September, Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named for her late father who suffered from mental health challenges following his return from the Vietnam War. During an interview with CNN’s Van Jones that aired Saturday, the actress shared that the foundation will raise money and advocate for more “culturally competent” therapists in Black communities who can address the generational traumas of African-Americans.
“We need to lift this carpet up and deal with this dirt.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.