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Big Sean Is Making Major Money Moves For Mental Health & His Community

Big Sean is proof that you're never too much of a boss to forget where you came from.

Celebrity News

The only thing sexier than a powerful man is a man who uses that power to help others, and damn, is it me? Or did Big Sean just become Zaddy? A lot of rappers talk about bossing up, but Big Sean put his money where his mouth is this year at the second annual DON (Detroit's On Now) Weekend, where the rapper not only hosted a block party and mental health panel but also donated a $100,000 recording studio to the Boys and Club. As the birthplace of Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, and Motown, the rapper says that Detroit was the perfect place to House the first official Sean Anderson Foundation Production Studio:

"Detroit is like one of those staples in music. It's important that we keep that legacy of being one of music's backbones. We've got a reputation to uphold."

The entertainer explained that this is the first of many studios he plans to build across the nation in an attempt to give other kids a chance that he and his friends never had:

"I think it can save somebody's life, if they have somewhere to go. I think it can change somebody's life. It can be the start of million-dollar companies. … It all starts here. I think there are going to be a lot more millionaires and billionaires from Detroit, and I think the Boys & Girls Club is going to have something to do with that."

Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com

The two-day weekend was sponsored by The Sean Anderson Foundation, which is run by Sean's mother, Myra Anderson, and featured a live DJ, free haircuts and braiding, health screenings, and felony expungement. According to Big Sean, giving back to his community on this large of a scale was the most monumental money move that he could make:

"The west side of Detroit is my old neighborhood. It's a full-circle moment when your neighborhood supports you and holds you high, and you're in a position to be able to hold it up in your own way and take it further."

Whoever said boys don't cry told you a damn lie, and Big Sean is on a mission to erase that stigma for good, starting with his annual event. Over the past two years, the rapper has been candid about his struggles with mental health and was adamant about creating a safe space in his hometown for dialogue. He explained that it was important to him to host a mental health panel because there was a time where he wasn't likely to talk about his issues at all:

"I think that it used to have a little taboo or something, definitely a stigma to it. But I only talk about it because I know other people go through it. ... I didn't talk about it for any type of gain, career-wise. I just talked about it so somebody else could gain something from it. I had to learn how to deal with these types of problems a different way."

Men need self-care, too, and although it took Big Sean a whole lot of heartbreak and a one-year hiatus from music to realize this fact, he wants to put as many people on game as possible. The rapper says that his panel on mental health was of the most important things he's ever done and says it's important we adopt a new perspective as a community when it comes to self-care:

"One of the things I go through on a daily basis is learning how to take care of myself properly — that includes not just physically, not just spiritually, but also mentally, also emotionally. I didn't (always) realize it's the most important thing."

Big Sean is proof that you're never too much of a boss to forget where you came from.

Featured image by Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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