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After painstakingly giving in, I watched a recorded event my wife thought would be interesting. It was with one of my favorite rap artists DMX and an entertainer named Iyanta. I never heard of Iyanta and was not interested in the interview or interviewer. However, after observing some of its content, I can categorically state, she is ill-equipped to diagnosis clinical depression or addiction. For this reason, the interview was a sham. The producers and Iyanta exploited an obvious ill individual for commercial gains. Sadly, in the Black community, some will cheer this exploitative slice of ‘weird TV’. Our community accepts most anything as authentic if we become emotional, feel pity, or want to pray. However, the interview on DMX by Iyanta was trash TV. Mental illness and addiction is no entertaining matter. I’m not sure if “X” suffers from either, nonetheless, Iyanta, lacks a professional background to diagnosis it. She did more harm than good, and only for ratings.

Mental illness and addiction has rampaged communities across America. However, in the Black community the epidemic has gone viral long ago. I suffered for over 18 years with depression and addiction. I know the terror and thoughts of suicide. It was the hardest battle in my life faced mostly alone. Beyond my wife, children, and Rod Davis, no one could bring sunlight into the darkness. Again, I cannot say what DMX suffers from, but the symptoms he displayed while exploited were hurricane-warning signals. This interview should never have occurred. His taking advantage of was an attempt to keep a struggling entertainment mogul afloat (Oprah Winfrey). Sadly, the effort also sends the message that mental illness and addiction needs only a pep talk, and reconciliation with a love one. This production was an act of betrayal. DMX’s representative should charge Iyanta, with an intelligence malpractice suit if they cared about his health and awareness.

In the Black community mental illness and depression remains under the most ineffective institution in Black culture: The Black Church and its representatives. It is common for Black women to beg depressed and dysfunctional men to seek help from unqualified clergypersons. Yes, send them to people who lack any trace of formal education in mental diseases. This is a horrible mistake to send depressed individuals to a church representative untrained in the field. On the contrary, the Black church can help by suggesting individuals to seek professional help. In so much, Iyanta, Kirk Franklin and any other entertainers must shut their damn mouth on the issue. These half-baked tricksters must scurry back to their dwellings or obtain an academic education in the field. Either way, please let my people go.

The worse statement from Iyanta was when she said to DMX, “Don’t you know you’re a vessel of God”. I nearly lost it; what does mythical propaganda have to do with a possible mental illness and addiction diagnosis? This freak show exhibition eventually turned my stomach and I turned away from it. Sadly, numerous Black men and women may suffer from undiagnosed mental disease and addiction. Thousands are attempting to cope with the horrors of comorbidity; some make it, and many do not. We do know however, 95% of all suicides the person was suffering from depression at the time. With this knowledge, we no longer can think Black preachers or some half-baked interviewer should attempt to diagnosis mental illness. Look at the statistics below and ask yourself who was helped in that interview.

Suicide Rates for African Americans, 1999-2010

• As with all racial groups, African American females were more likely than males to attempt suicide and African American males were more likely to die by suicide.

• From 1993 to 2002, the rate of suicide for African Americans (all ages) showed a small but steady decline. Since 2002, the rate has remained fairly flat, varying only between 4.9 and 5.2 per 100,000 annually.

• Suicide was the third leading cause of death among African American youth (ages 10-

19), after homicides and accidents. The suicide rate for this age group was 2.65 per 100,000 (n=196).

• Males accounted for the vast majority of African American elderly (65 and older) suicides.

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