What in the world is going on with Gucci Mane with this ice cream cone tattoo on his face? Lawd, Gucci has gone crazy! No, Lawd, not Gucci! Seriously, though, we need to surround this young man with love because he’s obviously experiencing some serious mental health problems. Although many rappers and other Hip-Hop artists cause themselves to face great troubles, this does not mean that they do not deserve to get our love, support, and best wishes. I hope that Gucci Mane will defeat the demons that he is fighting. What Black man do you know has a tattoo of an ice cream cone on his face? To me, the tattoo looks more like a penis. Now, of course, rappers and others (if they already have not) are going to start joking on Gucci Mane about this tattoo, especially making homosexual remarks about him. Honestly, though, what Black homosexual is going to get this type of tattoo on his face? Well, none that I know. I want to use the popular discourse about Gucci Mane’s tattoo on his face as a window of opportunity to talk about how we have to be more serious about mental health in the Black community.
America has not made serious investments in mental health. When Black people across the nation have experienced such horrific tragedies and impossible conditions, it’s crucial for our community to have access to the economic, psychological, and health resources needed to address critical mental health problems.
Instead of so many Black churches simply negatively criticizing and preaching about Hip-Hop music being the Devil’s music, they need to get out on the streets and welcome these Black rappers and Hip-Hop artists into their churches. These artists need to know that someone loves them and are willing to help them through whatever they are going through. Black churches can play such a greater role in aiding these Black Hip-Hop artists to overcome the psychic demons they battle. This, of course, will require many Black church leaders to lose their elitism and do the real mission of Christ: go out and save a people who are lost and/or simply need love and support.
Black men have historically had problems with using mental health services and getting mental health treatment. In the postmodern period, I think that the core reason why Black men are so reluctant to use mental health services has to do with maintaining the notion of being a “strong Black man.” Well, there’s nothing strong about staying crazy when you can overcome your poor mental health by reaching out for mental health support. There’s nothing masculine about denying the reality that you need help. You can still be masculine and receive mental health treatment. You need to know that it’s okay to go and get some counseling. We all need someone to talk to about our problems. We are all struggling with something, so it should not be a big deal for you to go and talk out your problems with someone. Even if you don’t go and get counseling from a licensed professional, make sure you muster enough courage to talk with someone who you know and trust to hammer out your problems with. This person just might give you the inspiration and advice you need to defeat your struggles.
So, yes, it’s funny at first to see this tattoo on Gucci Mane’s face but we’ve got to look beyond the surface and see that he and so many others are fighting great psychic demons, and we need to be there to help these people. Fortunately, Gucci Mane has the money to get the help he needs but so many others don’t. We need to pull together as a community and be willing to listen and talk to people. You will be amazed at what listening and talking to a person can do to change their lives. Be there for someone and someone will be there for you on the day you need him or her most!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison