Willow Smith’s shocking but revealing admission that she once used to cut herself shed a light on mental illness and recovery among Black women in Hollywood.
The Kids Are Alright: Black Women In Hollywood Who Battled Depression was originally published on hellobeautiful.com
1. Willow Smith
The 17-year-old recently admitted that she used to cut herself when she was nine-years-old during an episode of “Red Table Talk,” alongside her mother Jada and her grandmother Adrienne. Smith’s confession was a shock to her family, who had no idea that she resorted to self-harm to deal with the internal pressures of child stardom. “I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain…one night, I was like ‘this is actually psychotic,’ and after that I just stopped. It’s been like five years,” she shared.
2. Keri Hilson
Hilson disclosed that her bouts with depression deeply impacted her music career. “Literally seven years of my life have been a battle with depression, and I can’t say that I’m all the way clear, but I’m in the clear,” Hilson said at a panel discussion on mental health in February 2018.
3. Kerry Washington
The “Scandal” star has been very open about her past struggles with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. In an April 2015 interview with Glamour Washington said she relies on therapy as a form of self care. “My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”
4. Michelle Williams
Williams revealed that she fought depression and suicidal urges during and after her time with supergroup Destiny’s Child. “I was to that place where it got so dark and heavy, because sometimes you feel like, I’m the provider, I take care of people, I’m not supposed to be feeling this way. I wanted out.” Williams is now dedicated to normalizing the stigma’s surrounding mental health.
5. Kelly Rowland
In her 2013 song “Dirty Laundry” Rowland admitted to suffering depression due to a physical and emotionally abusive relationship alongside the breakup of Destiny’s Child. In her 2017 book “Oh Baby,” Rowland also shared that she experienced post-partum depression after the birth of her son Titan.
6. Mary J. Blige
Blige has always been an open book about her life through her gift of song. Early in her career Blige battled addiction to help her sort through her newfound fame. “I was resorting to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain,” she said in an interview with MAKERS. “People from the outside looking in would think I was great, but I was in hell.” Blige said she fought off her addiction by realizing her gift and the impact it had on her fans. “I took all this depression and opression I was dealing with and just put it in my music. I made the choice, I chose life,” she said.
7. Alicia Keys
In 2007 Alicia Keys said she fought depression after the death of her grandmother, while keeping her pain a secret from her loved ones. “I was feeling so sad all the time, and I couldn’t shake it,” she says. “I started burying my feelings, and it got to a point where I couldn’t even tell my family or my friends, ‘I’m twisted,’ or ‘I’m exhausted,’ or ‘I’m so angry.’ … I became a master of putting up the wall so that I was unreadable.”
8. Serena Williams
Though she’s one of the greatest athletes to ever live, Williams experienced depression after she discovered a blood clot in her lung in 2010. Williams also said she fought with post-partum depression after the birth of her daughter Alexis.
9. Halle Berry
Berry dealt with suicidal urges after her marriage to former MLB player David Justice dissolved. But, the award-winning actress was able to come out of her depression to realize her self-worth. “My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable,” she said.