Behold Music & Mental Health, a feature we hope to bring you more often than not, written by the fabulous Imade Borha. She’ll check in from time to time with her thoughts on … well … presumably, music and mental health. Duh. If you dig, you can follow her on Twitter here. Enjoy!
A burrito is never a burrito and salsa music is never just salsa music. This is what I thought when I finished my Tortacos food review and went back for lunch.
If you’re a member of a marginalized group, you probably already know that cultural symbols are attached to cultural suffering. There would be no Tortacos if Sergio España’s father didn’t re-immigrate to the U.S. to make a better life for his family.
There are two major struggles I deal with that cause mental distress: Overcoming cultural suffering to create cultural symbols, and feeling like my cultural suffering is ignored after creating cultural symbols.
My life is far from a sob story, but to write about arts and culture, I had to overcome a single-parent home, a historically black high school that often lacked both teachers and books, and a rough transition to nationally ranked universities including one Ivy League school. I also dealt with three cumulative years of unemployment thanks to completing undergrad studies during the pit of the recession.
Cultural symbols are rarely produced in optimal circumstances. Music genres like hip-hop, gospel, jazz, and blues were created with the pressure to create something out of nothing.
When celebrities flame out and “go crazy,” it’s often because they’re surrounded by harmful people who believe the things that celebrities create are more important than the person who created them. I may be impaired while facing challenges, but I’m quite debilitated when I experience success and no one acknowledges the pain I had to overcome to get there.
Much of mental healing comes from the willingness to see each other. To see how the absence of a parent still lingers at a graduation. To see how a person still struggles with basic grammar rules after a substandard public education. We need more authentic gazing beyond the cultural product, to the people who need support.