BLAFROKAN - Many Nations, One People

Reality Check: Black Men & Depression

Black Ink Chicago may be a TV show, however things got real on lasts night’s episode with cast member Phor who viewers may be shocked to find out is battling deep depression. Usually the show is filled with organized chaos, petty beefs between cast members and drunken party fests in between tattooing clients. It’s all entertainment until real life drama behind scenes surfaces.

Phor, a cool, calm 9 Mag tattoo artist and buzzing rap star feels things are falling apart after losing a music deal to continue working with major record producer, songwriter and former rapper London Holmes, known as “London on da Track,” after his tattoo cast mates wrecked his performance in Jamaica in a street melee. Adding to this music career fumble was the abrupt break up with longtime girlfriend Nikki, after his indiscretions went public on social media.

What’s troubling with Phor’s situation, which is often the case for many who suffer from depression, is how some people in his inner circle were oblivious to his emotional and mental inner turmoil. “Check on your fam and friends” has to become more than a slogan but a lifestyle, which is observable by how we treat one another beginning with self.

Below is a short self-assessment and symptom checker to help you stay in tune with your emotional and mental wellbeing and those you love:

Note: Observable characteristics of depression vary in how it’s expressed based on cultural factors. The diagnostic measures for depression are typically based on white/Europeans behavior characteristics which can differ and are not always representative of Africans (African Descendants) cultural behavior. Africans have a unique cultural identity and experience in the world that has filtered their ability to properly self emote and express.

Solutions to the problem vary to from lifestyle changes and therapy, to medications for chemical imbalances. Regardless of the approach you take towards mental wellness, make sure it is wholistic.

It’s our hope that Phor’s story and journey toward healing can be of inspiration for other men in our community. We must recognize the continued effects of the Maafa (African Holocaust), as it did not end. Hostile European dominated societal structures and systems still exist and negatively impact our psyche and overall well-being in ways beyond measure. It would not be outlandish to assume we all are in need of on some mental and emotional support and treatment from personal and or generational past traumas.

For those seeking professional psychological and psychiatric help from people who look like them check the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi).

Black/African Centered psychology is a dynamic manifestation of unifying African principles, values and traditions. It is the self- conscious “centering” of psychological analyses and applications in African realities, cultures, and epistemologies. Black/African centered psychology, as a system of thought and action, examines the processes that allow for the illumination and liberation of the Spirit. Relying on the principles of harmony within the universe as a natural order of existence, Black/African centered psychology recognizes: the Spirit that permeates everything that is; the notion that everything in the universe is interconnected; the value that the collective is the most salient element of existence; and the idea that communal self knowledge is the key to mental health. Black/African Centered psychology is ultimately concerned with understanding the systems of meaning of human beingness, the features of human functioning, and the restoration of normal/natural order to human development. As such, it is used to resolve personal and social problems and to promote optimal functioning.

– The Association of Black Psychologists



We are many tribes, ONE blood. The Original people of the earth. Black, the color of our melanin. Afro, our halo and crown. Ka, our soul connected to the Source.

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