Last year September, Harry Song posted a disturbing message on his Instagram: he wanted his fans not to cry for him when he dies but celebrate his life. Afterwards, it was reported that Song was depressed but he was getting help. The story had a blight of suspicion – that it could all be a publicity stunt but the more Song gradually disappeared from the pubic eye, the more the story gained a weighty truth.
‘Na falling hand if you go tok say you dey depressed’ Harry Song
For dis interview im open mouth yan wetin true-true happun dat time and how e take overcome. #HarrySong #TGIF pic.twitter.com/F6nIItcika
— BBC Pidgin (@bbcnewspidgin) May 3, 2019
Months later, and Song is back to disclose his experience on depression in an interview with BBC Pidgin. First, I like that it’s in a language that the vast majority of Nigerians can understand, given the way we are inclined to view mental illness as something that white people suffer from. More importantly, a male celebrity like Song openly talking about his depression is an exquisite oddity.
In the interview, he spoke about how men aren’t suppose to show weakness or vulnerability. As such, men are socialized to tuck in whatever that can interrogate or challenge their masculinity. Furthermore, Song emphasized the importance of talking to someone about depression. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to mental illness in Nigeria and this has consequently led to the death of those who suffer from it.
Aside Song, we have had music manager Tunji Ibrahim Balogun aka Tee Billz deal with mental illness, part of a robust saga that revolved around the collapse of his marriage to Tiwa Savage. On the whole, the Song interview is just what we need as we dismantle retrogade mindsets about mental illness, and work towards creating a non-judgemental atmosphere on the condition.