Kofi Siriboe shows the strain that structural racism places on Black people’s emotional well-being in his portrayal of Ralph Angel Bordelon on “Queen Sugar.” The actor and filmmaker tackles the topic, through the eyes of several other Black millennials, with his new short documentary, “What the Fuck is Mental Health?”
Siriboe released the video, which clocks in at just over four-and-a-half minutes, alongside an interview with The Huffington Post yesterday (June 4). “Making ‘WTF Is Mental Health?’ has been a part of a healing process for me, one I’m still exploring,” Siriboe said. “It’s the companion piece to ‘Jump,’ a short film I made after a mentor and big brother figure died by suicide, just before I got the call that I’d been cast in ‘Queen Sugar.’ I started working on this beautiful, emotional show and felt how liberating it was to channel my fears into art. As I began to mold ‘Jump,’ I realized the true conversation I was craving centered on young Black people who are figuring out this mental health thing, too.”
Siriboe’s film features seven Black people in the Bronx, all of whom speak candidly about their own struggles with both mental health and the stigma that comes with discussing it.
“Everybody doesn’t have that language and doesn’t understand that there is a community or world out there, of people who are dealing with similar things, so I really want to explore what it is and what it means to us,” Siriboe added. “A lot of our project is just asking questions, and I think with the questions, they’re able to give us answers and able to define these definitions for ourself, rather than what we’re accustomed to being told.”