"I can't hold back these tears
Let me cry
They say a man ain't supposed to cry"
- August Alsina, Song Cry (2015)
As of lately, there has been an increase in music made by black artists, pushing to speak on dark subjects such as suicide and depression. Artists like Kendrick Lamar have begun to touch on emotional and stigmatized topics such as mental illness in their songs, creating an open conversation for black mental health awareness within the music industry. One of those artists, is New Orleans singer August Alsina. On October 28 2015, the R&B singer dropped the third single to his album This Thing Called Life, entitled Song Cry. The song goes into detail of the loneliness of fame, feuding with loved ones, suicidal thoughts, and coping with his older brother’s death.
Unapologetically, August Alsina takes this song to a new heightened level by putting his emotions on the forefront. Going against the societal rules of black masculinity, Alsina tells listeners that he hurts, he cries, he suffers, and that it's okay for him to do so.
Song Cry, however, is not the first song released where August Alsina has been upfront about his emotions. On his Downtown: Life Under the Gun EP track Don’t You Forget About Me, the last minute and 10 seconds of the song contains a monologue of August breaking down in the recording studio over the loss of his older brother. August Alsina's older brother, Melvin La’Branch lll, was shot in the head in Eastern New Orleans on August 31, 2010, just three days before August's 18th birthday. Having a very close relationship to his brother and three nieces, it is no surprise that August is still in emotional pain from the murder. To this day, August Alsina faces blame from his family members for Melvin's murder, which has unfortunately caused a rift between him, his cousin and his mother. Earlier on the EP is another song called Downtown, which depicts August's plotting revenge for his brother's death.
During an interview on the Breakfast Club, August Alsina admits that he is still battling suicidal thoughts. At 16:56 of the interview, he goes into detail of the self-victimizing thoughts he puts himself through, and how that thinking pattern tends to trigger intense suicidal thoughts.
While August has been criticized heavily by both men and women who hold the image of black men not being allowed to let their emotions to show, we are truly proud of his bravery and willingness to be open with his listeners. August Alsina is definitely not a man afraid to let the world know the pain he is currently going through, and we here at AsiaJonesProductions support him along the way. So many people within our communities are not doing well mentally or emotionally, and yet we continue to not only silence each other but ourselves from speaking on issues such as this one. With honest songs such as Song Cry being released, listeners will have the chance to relate to the artists and no longer feel alone. We condemn August Alsina for his transparency, and hope he is receiving the help he needs to heal his heart from his brothers passing.