It is a rarity in modern-day Hollywood to see a celebrity utilize their platform with purely positive intentions of promoting social activism and equality for all rather than personal gain. Time and time again, we see celebrities either stay silent on important issues instead of using their voice, or we see artists that emptily tweet about a problem for an audience to draw attention. Although it seems as if there are only a few left who truly and unproblematically advocate for social issues, one artist in particular has gone under the radar with all of his messages.
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, otherwise known by his stage-name; Logic, has set the bar on another level by basing his platform to spread ideas of love and equality. Although the rapper is not yet a household name, he has revolutionized the contemporary duty of an artist by covering topics from racism to mental health to politics through his music and has already made a vast difference in doing so.
Logic’s song, “1-800-273-8255,” featuring fellow artists Khalid and Alessia Cara, introduced his work to mainstream radio. The song, from the album “Everybody” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard 200, serves as a suicide prevention anthem, highlighting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as its title. It is presented in the form of a conversation between a suicide hotline operator and someone who is expressing suicidal thoughts.
“Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times. Many of you have told me it’s even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough,” the rapper told his fans on Twitter. “I felt compelled to make a song that could actually help you.”
Mental health is rarely talked about, especially in mainstream music. The mental health stigma is nothing new. Society has always pushed prejudicial attitudes towards those who are mentally ill, resulting in a self-stigma where people who are battling mental diseases feel insufficient and alone. The fact of the matter is that in 2015, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34, and the third leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 14, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Therefore, music about mental illness would resonate with many people.
To only prove the amazing impact that Logic’s addressing of mental illness has had, a 50% increase in call volume occurred at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline following the rapper’s recent VMA performance, which featured dozens of suicide attempt survivors wearing shirts that read “You Are Not Alone” in what was one of the award show’s most emotional moments.
“By sharing these stories of recovery from individuals who have been there and have survived their own crises, we can change the conversation about suicide from one of tragedy and isolation to one of hope,” said hotline director Dr. John Draper. “It’s an honor for us to be working alongside Logic to help people in despair find hope and meaning.”
Logic has even shared his personal experiences in struggling with mental health and anxiety, including a retelling of his own story in his song “Anziety”. “I have anxiety / Just like you, the person I wrote this for / And together we will overcome this feeling / We will remember despite the attacks and constant feeling of our mind and body being on the edge / That we are alive / And any moments we have free of this feeling we will not take for granted,” the song states in a speech following. The rapper makes a fearless leap against the stigma and addresses his own and the listener’s existing anxiety in a hopeful and unified tone, instead of the expected negative and helpless attitude.
Perhaps even better than the song itself is the “1-800-273-8255” music video, in which a young black male is struggling with his sexuality and as a result has to battle suicidal thoughts. When asked about the music video, Logic replied saying that, “Some people are p*ssed off, and the thing is, I’m not here to get my agenda over. It’s like, literally, I’m fighting for the equality of every man, woman, or child, regardless of race, religion, color, creed, sexual orientation, and I’m here to spread a message of peace, love, and positivity. If you don’t agree with it or you don’t like it, that’s fine. But you don’t have to bash those people, that’s the same reason they feel like taking their lives.”
Logic is also intent on being outspoken about racial problems in contemporary society. His album “Everybody” expands on his experience with racist ideals and discovering his personal identity with his biracial ethnicity. These themes are eminent in his song entitled “Black SpiderMan,” in which the lyrics encourage being proud of who you are while not letting it define your character, saying, “Not perceived by the things I believe or the color of my skin / Or the fact I’m attracted to her, maybe him (…) Black is beautiful / Be black and proud / F*ck everybody hatin’ on me right now, I’m black and proud.”
To best sum up Logic’s message would be to use a quote from himself, during a post-performance speech, in which he stated, “From racism, discrimination, sexism, domestic violence, sexual assault, and so much more; I don’t give a damn if you are black, white, or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight, I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally and that is why we must fight.”
From me, personally, and all of the others who have felt underrepresented or under-acknowledged whether it be for mental health, race, religion, sexuality, etc; thank you, Logic.