Mistah F.A.B. holds ‘Thug Therapy’ for dozens of Black men struggling with mental health
Oakland rapper and entrepreneur Mistah F.A.B. first opened up publicly about his struggle with debilitating anxiety more than two weeks ago to NBC Bay Area and the response was overwhelming.
On Wednesday, he took it to another level. He opened up again, this time, space for other Black men to share their mental health stories.
Below Oakland bar Dezi’s, named after his mother in the city he was born and raised, Stanley Cox put the word out about what he affectionately calls “Thug Therapy”, a mental health wellness check-in.
And more than 50 Black men from all walks of life showed up.
Mistah F.A.B.’s impromptu conversation on NBC Bay Area two weeks ago was the catalyst.
“I suffer from anxiety like real deep anxiety and there are times when like I feel like the world is closing in on me,” he said.
While the men poured their heart into a space held for them, with resources in the crowd like psychologists, counselors and more, Mistah F.A.B. explained how the gathering came to be.
“It was like ‘yo, I know I can’t be the only person going through it,’” he said. “Now let me be the voice for the voiceless, let me be the voice of the village.”
All there were willing to seek help.
“There’s a misnomer that Black men are the group that utilizes therapy the least,” said Dr. Bedford Palmer, a psychologist in Oakland. “[But there’s] high need. I constantly have people who I have to turn away because I don’t have enough space.”
Palmer said what is also true. The compounding complications for Black men when it comes to parsing out what’s happening with their mental health.
“So you have depression or anxiety that are biological components that go with that but then there tends to be outside forces that can make that even more difficult so you might be dealing with depression or anxiety but you’re also dealing with racism at work,” he said.
For Mistah F.A.B., it is a work in progress on all days.
“It’s an everyday battle,” he said.
But he does it for those who can’t.
“That little boy that mother never hugged him daddy put the block before him,” he said. “Nobody about them, nobody representing for them.”