Black mental health isn’t just a talking point for Kofi Siriboe.
He’s serious about the topic ― and about making room for black people to have open and honest discussions on it.
“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,” the 24-year-old actor told HuffPost. “I feel like that space wasn’t really created for us.”
The “Queen Sugar” actor is using his platform to change that. Siriboe stepped behind the camera for “WTF Is Mental Health?” ― one of his first forays into production and a project he’s releasing exclusively to HuffPost. Filmed in the Bronx, the short-form documentary explores mental health among young black people. In the mini-documentary, seven people get real about their individual mental health journeys and discuss the challenges and stigmas they’ve faced along the way.
“Making ‘WTF Is Mental Health?’ has been a part of a healing process for me, one I’m still exploring,” Siriboe added. “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.”
“Everybody doesn’t have that language and doesn’t understand that there is a community or world out there of people who are dealing with similar things, so I really want to explore what it is and what it means to us,” Siriboe said. “A lot of our project is just asking questions, and I think with the questions they’re able to give us answers and able to define these definitions for ourself rather than what we’re accustomed to being told.”
Siriboe’s own struggles with mental health led him to create this project. At the height of his success when he was reaching his dreams was when he felt “some type of unease, a level of unhappiness I really couldn’t shake.”
“I didn’t really have the language, but I think it’s a mixture of anxiety, it’s a mixture of depression, it’s a mixture of general unease,” he continued. “Also sometimes, it’s just feeling isolated.
Though these conversations may feel new for much of the black community, they are urgent due to the unique trauma black people face every day. A report published in JAMA Pediatrics in May found that black kids ages 5 to 12 are twice as likely as white kids to kill themselves.
Siriboe also stressed the importance of having an outlet to express emotions. He said that is a privilege not afforded to a lot of black people.
“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 said of the 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.”
He hopes that bringing his story to the forefront can help cultivate an environment where black people can heal. In addition to the film, Siriboe is asking young black people to submit a video describing their mental health understandings and experiences.
“If we don’t admit what’s going on to ourselves, we’re gonna keep hurting in silence, which is killing us twice as much as our Caucasian counterparts. No one is gonna talk about it because it’s taboo,” he said. “That’s what I wanna end.”
Watch “WTF Is Mental Health?” above.
“Stop Telling Lies To Stay Relevant. – Actor Funke Akindele To Celebs.
LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA (www.georgebritton.com) - Multiple award-winning Nollywood actor, Akindele Olufunke Ayotunde popularly known as Funke Akindele, has advised famous persons, especially in the entertainment (musicians and actors) or sport to desist from coining and conveying false impression with the intention of staying relevant.
According to the "Jenifa's Diary" tv show star, most entertainment or sports celebrity feel pressured by their colleagues success in their respective field of endeavor, hence they deliberately tell untruthful stories full of deceit just to suit the public's eye and also stand the test of time.
In an Instagram post sighted by www. georgebritton.com, the Nigerian actor revealed that, most entertainment or sports public figures are forced to form stupid and unbelievable stories to their fans because they persuaded or coerced by their colleagues endorsement, brand ambassadorial and partnership deals.
Actor Akindele Olufunke Ayotunde urged her colleague celebrities not to feel less about the success of others, but rather endure their state of hardship, as everyone on earth is destined to taste success or wealth. She added that, having or showing a great intelligence or common sense should be their hallmark as a celebrity.
MOVIE REVIEW – Living in Bondage (Rating: 7/10)
If you are sceptical about seeing Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, it will be more than understandable. The Nigerian movie industry has spent much of its time making films bordering on the occult and rituals, many of which are overdrawn, overplayed, bland, and rather off-putting. And the Living in Bondage sequel was always going to centre on that. But this sequel to the 27-year-old original isn’t just about getting mystical, and is worth the promise of debuting director Ramsey Nouah, and the hype.
Breaking Free centres on Nnamdi Okeke (Swanky JK), who’s lost his job and has dreams of the luxury life. Breaking Free stands quite apart from the first film of 1992, but there are still correlations and some verisimilitude, Nnamdi is the son of Andy Okeke (played by Kenneth Okonkwo, who was also the star of the 1992 pic), and unlike the one centred on his father, Nnamdi isn’t exactly wallowing in penury, but rather just wants luxury.
And credit to the film for giving us a picture of Nnamdi in that way; he knows about various types of alcohol that he can’t afford and has knowledge of cars above his paygrade. For most part of the film, we see that Nnamdi isn’t so much just thirsting about the high life, but rather overawed by it; watch him arrive at a party in a Ferrari, yet marvel at a fleet of parked Rolls-Royces. See him look a bit out of place at a party, and not quite fitting in.
Nnamdi is aided into the life of affluence by, among others, Richard Williams, CEO of Zion Railways. Played by director Ramsey Nouah, Richard is the head of the spiritual group that affords people the good life (at a price), called The Brotherhood. Throughout the film, Nouah’s character is quite a standout act, introduced into the film with a round of applause, delivered by himself. There’s something of the likeable super villain about him; he’s the devil that quotes the Bible amidst lines of The Godfather, his demeanour is unchanging and unfazed.
Breaking Free has inevitable bouts of spirituality in it, but it’s all done with minimum fuss, and there’s little need for histrionics. From the spiritual conventions to Richard’s display of his powers, there’s no overplaying, those acts that usually seem out of place run well with this film (hence Richard’s cheeky ‘this isn’t Nollywood’ quote in the film).
Breaking Free thrives in many areas, not least the chemistry between characters. We see the closeness between Nnamdi and his brother Tobe (Shawn Faqua), who basically bounce of each other in scenes in which they are together. The relationship between Nnamdi and Kelly (Munachi Abii) has true chemistry, right from the off, and hardly seems forced – even the sex scene looks genuine.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of the movie is the fact that for all of its deluxe acting and directing, Breaking Free doesn’t have that much in terms of being relatable, but that’s a quite minor blot on an otherwise well-crafted work.
At the end of everything, Nnamdi realises the price of luxury is one he can’t quite pay, attempts to end it all, but doesn’t quite do it, and ends up in the hospital. Meanwhile, (some) members of The Brotherhood have been identified, but Richard is still very the unknown.
Breaking Free does a good job of not ending with closure, and keeping part of the mystery alive. Most pertinently, though, it is a good lesson on how to make a movie.
John Dumelo Calls For Legalization Of Polygamy In Ghana.
Actor and politician John Dumelo says there’ nothing wrong with polygamy hence should be legalized.
The NDC parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso constituency speaking in an interview on Citi FM’s Traffic Avenue, said that even though he would not practice the act, he thinks men who want to have more wives are at liberty to do that.
“Personally, I don’t believe in it [polygamy] but I feel that there is nothing wrong with it. If the Muslims are doing it perfectly, why not Christians? Provided you can take care of your two or three wives, that’s fine. I speak to a lot of Muslims and both the men and women are okay with it,” he said.
He also added that “…I feel it [polygamy] is good for Ghana.” he told the host of the show Jessica Saforo.
John Dumelo added that women who want to have more than one husband should also be allowed to do so because it will be discriminatory to do it for only the men.
“You can’t just do it for men. Do it for women as well…” he stated.
Yvonne Nelson, Prince David Storm Accra Streets Over ‘Fix Us’ Premiere On December 6.
Actors Yvonne Nelson and Prince David Osei were out in the streets of Accra on Monday to market Fix Us, a new movie by YN Productions about the challenges actors put up with.
Directed by Pascal Amanfo, the movie tells the story of three young ladies who take on a journey of faith and fate. When Naadie (Yvonne Nelson), Chioma (Yvonne Okoro) and Jaya (Alexandra Amon) run into each other at an audition, they are bound by their common dream to be movie stars and form a friendship that can hardly be broken.
But when their dreams are eventually actualized, they soon realise that they want even something more from life. Something more that money cannot buy. Something more that fame cannot give. Something more that they must find for themselves.
It stars Yvonne Nelson, Yvonne Okoro, Prince David Osei, Michelle Attoh and Nigeria’s Mofe Duncan. The rest include, former Big Brother Naija housemate Tobi Bakre, Jessica Williams, Belinda Dzatta, Ivorian actress, Alexandra Amon, Hajia4real and musician, Irene Logan.
It is set for a grand premiere at the Silverbird Cinemas at the Accra Mall, starting from 7pm. In the past few weeks the cast of the movie have been on various media platforms to talk about the movie.
Yvonne and Prince aside granting interviews on radio and TV also took to the street to share flyers of the movie while they also get interactive with some Ghanaians out there. They shared flyers at the Okponglo traffic light, the campuses and hostels of University of Professional Studies UPS and University of Ghana.
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