By Nyame-Kye Kondo, AFRO Contributor
Over the years the entertainment industry has maintained the appearance of mental stability when it comes to many popular public figures. In the last decade it has become more common for conversations to be had that raise public awareness on the importance of mental health within society.
Various figures in the public’s eye are now having honest conversations about its importance, and as a result its causing a chain reaction in the Black community.
Former first lady Michelle Obama said, “Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. Whether an illness affects your heart , your arm or your brain, its still an illness and there shouldn’t be any distinction.”
Multifaceted musician, producer and music executive, Devin White knows all too well the stigmas that surround such a heavy topic. A long time sufferer of extreme anxiety, White has decided to take a stance, and use his music and his voice as both therapy, and a platform to bring awareness to a devastating problem.
Born in Virginia Beach, but primarily raised in the Washington D.C. area, White started his early training in theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, but changed his artistic focus when embarking on his lifelong dream of being a musician. Musically inclined from a young age, White gained inspiration from Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson, but it was through the hustle and spirit of determination that he has been able to rise as an executive in the music industry and ultimately work for the latter.
Currently working under the guidance of Janet Jackson’s A&R, Jareiq Kabara, White has found himself in extremely high energy environments that require a lot of focus and mental stability. Realizing that he would not be able to thrive with so much mental baggage, White has decided to start speaking candidly on the topic of healing.
“For most of my life, I’ve gone in and out of feelings of anxiousness. My heart palpitates a mile a minute, I feel like isolating myself and screaming, crying, anything to stop this fear that I can’t describe. Now that I have a family, and such positive opportunities in front of me, I have decided to reclaim my piece of mind.” Unable to fully verbalize these feelings to others for years, White, is finding balance, through consistent spiritual practices, meditation, and music.
“My strong spiritual faith, helps me a lot. It reminds me that there is a higher power, and that when I allow myself to be receptive to this energy, I am elevating my vibration, and ultimately bringing myself peace. I meditate when I feel distracted and need to focus. I believe that meditation is one of the most calming ways to level your mind,” White told the AFRO.
“By closing your eyes, breathing,in your own silence and emptying your mind, you are able to climb within yourself and organize the chaos within. Music is probably one of the more transparent ways that I am getting control of my mental body, because I am sharing it with others.”
Now White’s work is reflecting his understanding of the importance of taking mental health seriously.
“My new project is rooted in themes of mental health, the obstacles I have had to overcome, as well as the beauty that life can bring you when you are open to growth, and abundance. I don’t have a name for it yet, but I know that I will be putting words to feelings that are not exclusive to just me, and that’s an important part of the journey for all of us,” White said.
“Relatability enables recognition and ultimately, change. It is my hope that others will feel inspired by my mental wellness journey enough to embark on their own”.