Lauren Chanel Allen, a 22-year-old Christian graduate student at Howard University, struggled with mental illness for years. Like so many blacks, Lauren expected her faith to serve an elixir for her problems, including depression. However, her prayers were not sufficient. When she was unable to find solace in the church, she sought out an alternative source: the music of Kanye West. She shared her story in a 2016 article, “How An Ultralight Beam Helped My Dark Depression,” which she published in Abernathy magazine. Lauren’s story speaks to the disconnect that many millennials have with the church. Nowhere in her article did she use the word – therapy – or mention seeking professional help for her condition. Lauren’s avoidance of medical specialists speaks to broader issues in the African American community related to mental illness. This article addresses the following questions: Why do some blacks place more faith in their churches than professional therapy to address their mental health concerns? How does the church’s inability to properly address mental illness contribute to the fact that some black millennials find more solace in Hip Hop than in the church when they experience suffering? What do black pastors think about millennials turning to Hip Hop and rappers like Kanye West for comfort instead of the church? How much reliance should black millennials who are struggling with their mental health place in their faith in Hip Hop musicians such as Kanye West that uplift their spirits?
Wright, Joshua K.
"For Colored Girls and Boys Who Have Considered Suicide/ When Prayer and GOOD Music Weren’t Enough,"
Journal of Hip Hop Studies: Vol. 6
, Article 14.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jhhs/vol6/iss1/14