Sigh, man oh man. Yeah, this is how I am starting this article. Someone asked me why no one really talks about addictions, and mental health, and I told him that we do but that the problem is we just talk about it, but we don’t deal with it. We will talk about everything else, but these two topics unless we are judging them. DMX had too many people around him, for him not to have the proper help. Yea, I will just say it. But at the same time, I get why some people gave up helping him. No one really knows the mind of an addict. We see it on TV or watch Tik Tok videos, but no one knows the true pain that they deal with. As Swizz Beats expressed in his heartfelt response video, DMX helped everyone but himself. Which is like many people with Mental illness. Regardless what anyone thinks addiction is a mental illness. And like everything else we deal with; we just don’t talk about it. We call them crazy, or how they need “Jesus.” How they need everything else, but the people they love. More than 6.9% of black people have a form of addiction, while over 16% of black people have a mental disorder.
On April 2, 2021, DMX was rushed to a hospital in White Plains, New York, where he was reported to be in critical condition following a heart attack at his home, possibly resulting from an overdose. On April 3, his attorney, Murray Richman, confirmed that DMX was on life support Later that day, Richman stated he was off life support and breathing on his own, but he clarified that evening that DMX was still on life support and he had “been given wrong information”. That same night, tabloid journalism outlet TMZ, who first reported on the hospitalization, stated that the rapper had suffered oxygen deprivation to his brain as paramedics attempted to resuscitate him for 30 minutes. On April 4, former manager, Nakia Walker, stated he was in a “vegetative state” with “lung and brain failure and with no brain activity”. On April 7, his manager, Steve Rifkind, stated Simmons was comatose and that he was set to undergo tests to determine his brain’s functionality which would allow his family to “determine what’s best from there”. The test came back the following day, saying it was no “brain activity” and he was brain dead. Simmons was pronounced dead at age 50 on the morning of April 9, 2021, according to a statement released by his family.
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DMX had spoken openly about his addiction to crack cocaine, which began when he was 14 years old after he smoked a marijuana cigarette laced with the drug. Born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York, DMX spent much of his early life in Yonkers, New York. He experienced a turbulent childhood, growing up in an abusive household and spending time in boys’ homes and, later, juvenile institutions. It was during his time at one of those boys’ homes that he started writing music, eventually linking up with producer Ready Ron. With the help of Ron, DMX life was shared in his music. Like the song “Slippin, where he rapped,
“I’ve been through mad different phases like mazes to find my way. And now I know that happy days are not far away. If I’m strong enough, I’ll live long enough to see my kids. Doin’ somethin’ more constructive with their time than bids. I know because I been there, now I’m in there. Sit back and look at what it took for me to get there. First came the bullshit, the drama with my mama. She got on some fly sh*t so I split and said that I’ma be that seed that doesn’t need much to succeed.”~ DMX (Slippin, 1998)
Even with all the fame and glory, he couldn’t stay away from his demons. From 1998-2019 DMX was in and out of jail and in and out of the hospital from drugs overdose and asthma attacks. However, in his last days he announced his new deal Def Jam and planned to drop new music. He seemed to be in high spirits, until April 2nd, 2021.
Even with all the success, his demons were bigger than him. I wish he knew how loved he was, how many lives he touched. And how his music got so many through tough times. Honestly, his music got me through so much growing up. While I had my love for Pop, DMX was that rapper that had my heart. And while he had God in his life, it wasn’t enough to conquer his demons with drugs. Like I said before, prayer without work is just prayer. And prayer is powerful, but prayer is to guide you, you can’t sit and wait and wait on prayer. However, I hope his death opens up the topic of addiction and metal health in the Black community. We live in a world that we lightly discuss mental health but we don’t really dig deep into it. Which is why many still hold their traumas and pain in their thoughts and just “deal” with it alone. Finally when they decide to share their thoughts, it be too late. I wrote this post in honor of DMX, and for everyone who is dealing with some type of addiction and mental illness please talk to someone or go get help. Someone will listen, and hopefully the right person will listen and help you. Don’t sit in darkness, because someone is calling your illness a plea “attention.”
RIP Earl Simmons
That is All….