Queen Sugar actor Kofi Siriboe has managed to take a part of his reality into his cardinal endeavors as a producer to bring the discussion of mental health in the black community to a serious front.
Filmed in the Bronx, “WTF Is Mental Health?” the mini-documentary explores the lives of 7 young black people who drop knowledge about their dealings with mental health and throw a focal point on its core challenges with in-demand questions. The documentary will be exclusively showcased through HuffPost. Siriboe’s idea of the documentary is a rather subjective approach and he aims to promote the discussion of black mental health to a level of universal comfort.
“I feel like with mental health, people always react negatively. We kinda have a lot of stigma in our community and in society in general,” Siriboe told HuffPost. “I feel like that space wasn’t really created for us.”
The actor revealed experiencing his own measures with mental health, which had a fuel of fear added when of one his own mentors passed away from an act of suicide, just moments before he received that special call for his Queen Sugar casting as Ralph Angel Bordelon. The mini-documentary compliments his coming as a producer and follows his first make Jump, an NYC bound montage prompt by his mentor’s passing. He described the making of “WTF Is Mental Health?” as a “healing process.”
“It’s the companion piece to Jump, a short film I made after a mentor and big brother figure died by suicide, just before I got the call that I’d been cast in ‘Queen Sugar.’ I started working on this beautiful, emotional show and felt how liberating it was to channel my fears into art. As I began to mold ‘Jump,’ I realized the true conversation I was craving centered on young black people who are figuring out this mental health thing, too.”
Siriboe’s overall goal is to trigger a true dialogue in the black community about the soft-spoken reality of mental health that hoards our beloved youth. He hopes that by telling his own story and showcasing the voice of the voiceless, those the masses can relate to will inspire those who steer deep in the chambers of mental health to speak up and gain the support they eagerly seek to experience.
“I get to express, but what about those people who don’t have that opportunity, they’re bottling up all this emotion and being told it’s not real then we wanna talk about mental health after there’s a reaction to what’s been bottled up … and it’s not gonna stop. It’s only gonna keep getting worse,” he recalls on suicide rates. “It creates a system that disconnects a person, disconnects a community and we’re weak that way. It creates a vulnerability that isn’t strength. It’s not chosen. We should be vulnerable by choice cause that’s all we can be. We have to acknowledge what it is and accept it.”