You never know what someone is going through from the outside looking in. My guest Chris Blount talks about his struggles with anxiety and depression and how he used music and podcasting to help get him through it.
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About the Interviewee:
Chris Blount is a podcaster, artist, and owner of On Purpose Recordings in Tacoma, WA. He hosts a podcast called “I Said That Sh*t On Purpose” and is a producer for various podcasts in the area.
On Purpose Recordings
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Richard Dodds 00:00
– Coming up later in that episode.
Chris Blount 00:02
– One of the things that truly helped me with healing was conversation, and it’s why I love podcasting because you can have conversation. It’s going to be an excuse to catch up with my friends, but I’m going to interview you about your life. People started listening and it became like these important pieces because everybody has a story and everybody’s story is valid and important because we all learn something and those that podcast really helped me understand my friends and help them understand me. I learned a little bit about myself throughout the process. And that really helped me to heal.
Richard Dodds 00:34
– This is still talking black, a show about giving awareness and perspective to issues that black people face every day. I’m your host. Richard died a few months ago. I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Black Pie Festival in Atlanta, georgia. I met a lot of amazing black creators down there and the guest on my show today is somebody that I connected with down there. We got to talk and he had. He has a very interesting story about how his art and podcasting. Helped him overcome anxiety and depression.
Chris Blount 01:05
– Hi, my name is Chris Blount. I am a podcaster and owner of on purpose recordings which is a studio in Tacoma, washington.
Richard Dodds 01:13
– And so it’s really good to talk to you again. I know we’ve been keeping in touch since the conference. You have a very interesting background, so your company is called On Purpose LLC, right?
Chris Blount 01:26
– Yeah, On Purpose LLC. So tell me tell me a little bit about your company and how you came about with the On Purpose LLC. It’s a great question to start off with. It had a lot to do with my growth as a person and my experience of dealing with mental health. Dealing with spiritual growth and everything so, and I’m not like a super religious person, but it was one of the sayings of following my passion, and i’ve always wanted to create a safe space for creatives. So whether you’re doing podcasts and where are you doing? Music or poetry or voice overs? I wanted it to be done in like anything done with purpose, you know, so I wanted to name it on purpose recordings because most of the stuff we do is on purpose, but with some sort of purpose.
Richard Dodds 02:14
– That’s something because that’s something that I’ve kind of struggled with at different various parts of my life, whether it’s career or whatnot. Sometimes I tend. I had a tendency. I will say that I’m not like that anymore. I had a tendency to kind of go with the flow, so much so that I wasn’t actually walking a path, but I was kind of being dragged along the path. So I think that on purpose is like a really. It’s a it’s 2 words, but it’s very powerful.
Chris Blount 02:42
– I think that for me i had a similar background to you. I used to go with the flow and recently I decided I do like these things each year for myself. Like I take inventory right? And i go with. What’s the lesson? What’s the? What’s the focus for this year and the last? Ironically, the last one was don’t go with the flow, be the flow you know I find that if you go with the flow you allow yourself to go down different people, streams and people guide you into places where you may not want to be. So by going with the flow I wanted to control my direction, I want to control my narrative and where I can take ownership in my decisions.
Richard Dodds 03:21
– Yeah, and especially The thing is especially like for me when I think about work. If you’re working a job a lot of times, the people who hire you have an idea of where they want you to go and the flow that they have for your career. And if you’re not careful, you’ll be walking the path that somebody else playing for you instead of the path that you’re trying to plan for yourself.
Chris Blount 03:43
– Yeah, i chose. In all aspects of my life. I had to learn that she was happiness over tradition. Because it was growing up, I grew up very blue collar in New Orleans. So what we did is we worked. And the insertion is you work. You acquire family, you work some more, support everything you know, and then you, I guess die right so? But I wanted to do something different and thankfully I’m I married. Somebody who was very supportive of my personal growth and it was it was very important for me to. Become who I who I came to be right, but it was. It was hard because for the most part I I’ve been working since 15, fourteen, 15 years old really. And when you are working and you see the fruits of your labor in the form of a paycheck, you go used to that. So it would be insane to like quit your high paying job to start a business based on hopes and dreams. You know like I was like how dare I break that, you know, break from the norm. And go for my dreams and it’s something that you hear a lot of people say and successful people are not at, but not your average everyday. You know, blue collar black person working right? Because there’s that pressure to keep doing it. You know your pressure is a man to provide most of that’s put on ourselves, right? So provide I’m a father. All these things and the last thing I want to do. Was put my family in jeopardy. Right, so it was. It took a lot for me to kind of accept the fact that, Ok, cool, it’s Ok. You save money. You have support of your people. You can go ahead on and go for what you what you always drink.
Richard Dodds 05:31
– So what’s your company? You produce different podcasts and you also have one. At least I know you have one podcast you have more than one.
Chris Blount 05:39
– Yeah, actually do I have more than one so I have of course I said that shit on purpose which is the one that’s all about the pop culture and foolery. And i’m joking with my friends for like 30 minutes and you know we talk about whatever’s going on in the day. Another podcast that I have is called. Should this be a movie which I host with my friend Mark and we talk about movies that we enjoy and it’s it. We’re very Siskel and Ebert with it, and it’s just a. It’s an overall fun time with movie geeks talking about everything. Other than that, I help people develop podcasts out here. So I work with a lot of people with when it comes to like voice work. I do various podcasts. I’m the guy in the background doing various podcasts, making sure that everybody’s on time or things are ran smoothly. I help people develop episodes and things like that, and it’s been really fun.
Richard Dodds 06:26
– I think that’s really important to be able to help people do it, and I think that is one of the best ways to learn.
Chris Blount 06:32
– And I learned so much from helping other people.
Richard Dodds 06:36
– So before podcasting there was music.
Chris Blount 06:39
– Umm yeah so I’m born and raised in New Orleans and I got into hip hop in high school and it was a way for me to express myself because I was kind of a I was an awkward kid and I had a very vivid imagination and I wanted a way to express that and I started off doing poetry but I fell in love with hip hop so much and so i would do music and my friends and I. We started this group. It was called the Ildren and we got look we got like a little popular in the city. I was like Ok we you know we’re it wasn’t like crazy with it, yeah, but we were in the underground scene, which is a great scene in some of the best rappers. And it kind of fell through after a while because of time and different people and different group. You know in the group you have people who grow in different directions and so we all grew in a different direction and whatnot. I ended up moving to Chicago and developing my own solo career because I was like I wanted something to say. I feel like we all have stories, right? I look at hip hop as folk music. It’s music for the folks. It’s always or reflection of what’s going on, whether it’s black people. To hold the hood or what that person’s going through, and so I’ve always wanted to be a messenger of some sort, and my father was a playwright, so I grew up in theater, and I grew up with it. The importance of expression and. Sending out a message right? So I was really in tune with hip hop. And i did. I want to say I did 2 albums I did 2 albums and two solo albums and a group album later on and it was. It was really cool. But then after a while life getting away so life got in the way and I just got stuck on working. Because working was paying the bills and it was doing all the things I need to. I just had a kid and I had another kid so I wanted to make sure that i wanted to provide because being a father and A good husband. Became paramount for me. Mainly due to like family stuff, right? Like you wanna you wanna? You wanna break family curses? You know I’m saying you wanna not be? You got to be the father you never seen you know so I wanted to be that. So it got locked in so I would do. I kind of was semi retired. And then I just started feeling like lost. Because you got into the whole, you know you get into the whole rhythm of everything and you lose it. You lose a piece of yourself because all it is just routine stuff. You get up, you go to work. You can’t go to a movie every now and then. It’s whatever. But as a creative or creative really can’t survive. Not being creative, you know. So after a while I remember talking with friends I. Funny enough, I got out of a other relationship, right? And I was talking to this young lady, and I was talking about my opinions on things and making her laugh and all the things. And she was like you should do a podcast and I was like what’s that? So and she had put me on to like a couple of podcasts and I was like I think I could do this. I have a computer, sure. And so I got her computer out. Kind of played around with it and. What I would do is I would invite my friends over and I would just sit there and have conversations with them and pretend like it’s a show and that was a way it became like this great creative way. To get my word out to get my thoughts out and so it was, it was really fun and I was like I could do a show like I could really do a show and that’s how that’s how i started off with a couple of my friends. We did this political podcast called profoundly ignorant. And I think we did like a bunch of seasons of it, and from that I was like yo, I think I want to do this for real. Like I wanna I wanna I hated my job so I was like I just and not that the job was terrible it’s just the corporate politics of it all right? The anxiety of going into the office being watched the monthly. You know things where they like the reviews and all those things I was like I don’t really like this and I’m just doing this to please other people. Is not really fruitful. You know, so that’s why I ended up being. Severely depressed. During that time. Because of. The unrealistic expectations I put on myself and also I struggled from anxiety and depression most of my life without anything without doing any really doing anything about it. You know, you try to pray it away whatever, and I remember going to a doctor. And they were like yeah, you need to get on pills you know, like I think I took like a test and all the things like a stress test and all that and it was like yeah you have depression. I was like what I thought I was just being black and they were like Nah Nah you’re like for real sad and I was like that’s fair, you know.
Richard Dodds 11:51
– So when you got that diagnosis, was that like a weight off of your back like this isn’t normal? Did it make you feel better to know that what you were going through wasn’t normal and that it was a road to recovery?
Chris Blount 12:04
– It was a mixed bag because it on one hand it’s like Ok that makes sense. And on another hand there’s a. There’s a level of shame with it. Because it was like, oh, that means am I weak? Can I just not handle life right now and. Coming to the realization that it is not was a process in itself. Because it was hard to say, hey, I’m taking pills because I have a chemical imbalance that. Allows that tells me that everything is sad. Yeah, and I even before that I kind of looked at depression as like a mood disorder like just more so, like oh, he just upset or he just said he can just but it’s like for real it’s for real. A disease like it’s a thing and after a while. I remember the depression becoming. So prevalent i wasn’t. I didn’t take it seriously in the beginning. Because I was like, oh, I can beat this is easy and I wasn’t like taking the pills and then I would start taking the pills. And then I found out later there was like a recall on one of my pills or whatnot. It was a whole thing but it all came to a head. At one point I was. I stopped finding joy in anything. You know i stopped finding joy and anything that I was that was coming to me i was still at my job. I had a therapist at the time and she didn’t understand me. And so I would clash with that so I didn’t feel like sharing anymore. I’m like if she don’t get me been why? Why am I even sharing? But I knew something was wrong and then after a while? Like I used to laugh at the commercials. They were like what is depression hurt right here and then I experienced it, and so you’re literally have body aches. And it becomes something where. It’s so painful. That you don’t know if you can survive it. Because on one hand it’s a lot of pain. You wake up in pain, you walk, you live your damn pain and go to sleep. Right, and then you sleep a lot. You’re irritable obviously because you’re not sleeping well. And there’s this kind of like body ache. And Hardy, not to mention. And the thing that you want to do, and sooner later you start thinking. I just want this to stop. And I don’t. I don’t care if I’m not here for it. You know, I’m saying like it was, I started to doubt my own. The validity of my presence. And that that’s when I knew I was like, oh, this is this isn’t good. This isn’t good, so. I remember calling a umm? I remember calling the facility to see if I could get checked in. And then it gave me a lot of shit for it really. Yeah it was. It was the way they do. Like people is very heartbreaking. The way they treat black mental health. They did. They were like well. Are you sure you have the insurance for this? Remember if you go in this will be on your right and I was like I’m actually talking to somebody who’s supposed to. You know, maybe, but I think there was there was all types of things that go with that.
Richard Dodds 15:27
– They were like trying to talk you out of.
Chris Blount 15:30
– Yeah and it was. It was insane, you know, and I already didn’t believe in myself enough to do that. So all I did was like just a little push to be like. Alright cool. I don’t have to do this. I didn’t, you know. My wife and I were going through it at the time. I blame most of that on myself for not trusting my surroundings because you begin to not trust anybody. You know and everything got dark. And I remember. One night it was just I after like days. It’s terrible days going through a lot of pain. When that I was like yeah I think it would be better if I wasn’t here. I didn’t talk to nobody about it. I didn’t make any threats. You know saying anything like that. I was just like, yeah, I don’t think this is going to work out. You know our. I remember walking out and then my wife was on the phone so I just, you know, through the Deuce. You know, I’m saying, hugged my kids and then rolled out at like one. Am i think I might have tried to call one friend. And like i never told him this either, but anyway, so I called my one friend like not my one friend, but one of my friends and they were annoyed that I was calling them so late and I just went, never mind man. Yeah, and I just I didn’t like I just. I brushed to the side and I remember driving out to the i drove out to the Tacoma Bridge. And I was right there. Like I could jump and I sat there for like a I don’t know. Maybe an hour debating it, debating my life. And before I and what I told myself I was like yo you can jump. It’s could be done because where the where, the where it is. If you jump, you’re done, you know. And it was one of the things where, like you can jump. You could be done. But before you do so. Did you? Did you really fight for yourself? Did you try? And I sat there and I went over it. I went over everybody’s expectations. I went over my expectations. I thought about a lot of things. I was like, you know and it went from fucking in. One way to fucking. In another way you know saying like because it was like well. No one cares, but it’s like what? But who are they? You know and. I decided I was like, alright, cool, you know what? Give this one shot? To one thing and if you do that and you’re still not happy, you can continue on and do this. You can go ahead on and end it. If you. If it gets better, it gets better. So for me at that time. With my brain and everything, the way my brain was functioning to me, that was a win win. I can either live or die. You know I did not care at that moment, but also I was shook in the sense. So I came home. And I was shook because I couldn’t believe like. Of all things I was gonna do this. Like I was going to end it, I still remember the date. I remember the date like. And I just remember coming home just shocked and I was quiet. And then i remember a couple weeks later i went into my job and quit because I was like I’m not happy here. And the first thing I need to do? It’s quite this job.
Richard Dodds 18:58
– I’ll just say just from knowing you know most people would see you quiet, but you are happy. You know what I mean? You’re nobody would ever think that you had struggled with these thoughts, and it’s crazy that you never know what somebody could be going through. And sometimes that one AM phone call is really important to handle it with grace, because sometimes you know people cry for help and stuff happens and we wonder like why didn’t they say something? Why didn’t they say something? Yeah, a lot of times we are and other people are saying things and if you don’t pay attention then you might miss that thing that they’re saying because you’re annoyed at a little bitty thing. And I think that puts a lot of things into perspective because people really going through stuff. Yeah, and like to get annoyed by something really small. It kind of makes it seem even more trivial, right?
Chris Blount 19:54
– It does, but on the other side. I couldn’t blame them, they didn’t know that it was like, you know, Chris was scheduled to have a mental breakdown. I should have been there, you know, and it’s like they didn’t. They didn’t understand that, they just know they boy called them at an ungodly hour, you know? So i couldn’t blame them. I went through a lot of anger posts too, because hey, it’s not like you can decide to not kill yourself. And hey, I’m better, you know. So I was. I went through a lot of anger with myself, anger at other people because I was mad that like how did. How did it get like this? I really didn’t have that support like I’m married. I’m supposed to have. Support from people you know. I’m saying like all the things and all actuality. A I was in this dark space where I wouldn’t even allowed it. I wouldn’t even allow the support secondly. And I can’t stress this enough. Depression is a serious disease that you do not have control over. At some point it stops being you managing depression, so it manages you. And so. I can’t stay like I can’t say ohh people commit suicide a week or they don’t know they really tried like I know. So because it is an unbearable pain, it is something that is beyond. It was beyond my imagination before it happened. I thought it was just like, oh, you just said no. You serious and I take it very seriously now. So I you know afterwards I started working on building my mental health, choosing to live my life for me. And adjusting my meds that should work like.
Richard Dodds 21:38
– We’ll be right back. If you like what we’re doing here, I’m still talking black. The best way to show your support is by liking, rating and sharing our content. If you really enjoy it, please be sure to give it a five star rating on Apple Podcast and a nice review telling us how much you enjoy it and if you know anyone that will find this content useful, please be sure to share our episodes with them. Every little bit helps and I want to thank you for your continued support back to the show. You kind of brushed over real quick, like oh like I had like a little music career and all of this, but you actually had some things that you did in music. And the craziest thing is that everything that you do now is you can see kind of the inflection that happened from that time, and from that time afterwards, because you had a period where you gave up in a creative outlet to do a nine to five, a creative outlet that you had done, stuff you had gotten some accolades. You know what I mean? You had actually, it’s not like ohh I had a mixtape on soundcloud.com like you actually had done some stuff.
Chris Blount 22:47
– Yeah it done some things like I was performing that side by side where I opened up for various artists. It was a great thing and then but still in the process that has kept a job. Yeah, so now I’m in this situation where I quit the job and I’m like well, what are you going to do you like this little podcasting thing? And I remember my wife being so supportive. She was like Chris. She can quit the job. We good. I want you to support your dreams. You want to start this business? Cool, do the research. Do it. I know you’ve been studying, you know, and. She realized that it was more important for me. To be well adjusted and happy. Then make this money because I was making good money. And so I you know, to give that up to start a business right before the pandemic is a choice. It’s a choice that is a choice. To be fair, I didn’t know the pandemic was popping up, you know so. She was like yeah, if you wanna start yourself friend of mine we got together. And I was like cool, let’s start it and i was like yo I want to continue doing podcast, but I want to go in a different direction. So I ended up starting this podcast called Chris. Talk to the podcast because one of the things that really that truly helped me with healing was conversation. And it’s why I love podcasting because you can have conversation. I feel like this society with society we had. We had lost the strength in having good conversation right and I wanted to talk to my friends. I don’t get a chance to talk to a lot of friends, so I was like all right cool. This is going to be. It’s going to be an excuse to catch up with my friends, but I’m going to interview you about your life and then it. Just it kind of people started listening. And it became like these important pieces because everybody has a story and everybody’s story is valid and important because we all learn something and those that podcast really helped me understand my friends and helped them understand me. I learned a little bit about myself throughout the process. And that really helped me to heal. I love podcasting.
Richard Dodds 24:57
– And the craziest thing is you said, like you didn’t know the pandemic was coming. And I’m in all honesty, that probably was probably the best thing that could happen. Just because, like not that the pandemic was good by any means, but it was so many people who had time to sit down and listen who had time to actually come up with their own voice and who would need that expertise that you would be able to give them so? I mean, and it’s kind of like a it’s like a blessing in disguise, right?
Chris Blount 25:25
– Yeah, it was because a lot of my friends had nonessential jobs so they was at home and so honestly I the pandemic. Was actually it worked out well for me. It wasn’t a obviously, you know with the pandemic. It’s not a great time for anybody, but it allowed me to slow down. It allowed me to put together a better plan for my life. It helped me work on my marriage and my family because it slowed everything down. So I had a chance to my wife and I went with a lot of therapy. We got a lot of things good. We found out so much about each other and we really connected and now we’re like. We’re better than we’ve ever been. Which is such a. It’s such an honor and a blessing to be there and also I got a chance to really do write and create better products. Through podcasting, so it allowed me to become a better version of myself and self actualize my dreams. And i was nervous about doing. Podcasting because it was like, oh man, I’ve been doing music this whole time. Yeah, am. I just gonna give up on music and just start podcasting. Am I going to be like a Joe Biden or Anori? You know so much that they’re dope. But also like I’ve missed, I kind of missed recording, you know. And I remember being at the at the Convention and some of it was like when you put a podcast. I was like doing the album. And I was like he’s right because there’s so much that goes into it and I felt better about it was sort of like, oh, it’s still work. You still got that work ethic. You’re not just turning on the mic and going up, you know? So it was good to hear that. And also it helps me move forward, move forward and continue to find joy in creating.
Richard Dodds 27:13
– I mean not only that like all of the skills that you had to pick up from recording music, all of that is skills that you can use to record a podcast, like it’s not like you just left that left that skill set behind. I was like, well, let me just learn how to do something else.
Chris Blount 27:30
– Exactly, yeah, a lot of it, and there’s a lot of crossover. There’s a lot of crossover with recording music and recording podcasts, so if anything it’s a little bit easier because now you got to worry about background vocals and beats and stuff like that. You know a couple of voice effects every now and then, but I’m I don’t care if someone like one take. I didn’t write anything down. Of course you didn’t man, it’s a conversation, you know, so it’s really cool to kind of have that and honestly it gives me more access for collaboration. I can have conversations with people versus, you know, I could i got a chance to interview my daughter. Yeah, and that was that was that was important. But I couldn’t put her on the song. She can’t rap, so not well at least.
Richard Dodds 28:17
– So during that climb, back before you hit that Mark i think one of the biggest, most important, seems like one of the breaking points for you where you really started to bounce back after you hit your hit your bottom and you start to work your way back was putting your job and you know as black men like we’re supposed to. We’re talk. We’re supposed to be providers we’re not supposed to be weak. We’re supposed to be hard. We’re supposed to be able to take anything, do anything. What was that like as a black man to like? Go to your wife and say babe, I’m quitting my job. I’m not happy. It’s making me miserable. I’m depressed. I’m going through all of this stuff and I will be happier trying to do my own thing what? What did that feel like?
Chris Blount 29:00
– I will say it was. It was heavy because I am fighting. All the you know all the pressure that comes from a being a man B. You know being somewhat of a provider and all the things so. My wife was very encouraging to let me know that a it’s Ok. To leave, it’s Ok to choose yourself, be that you are supported and cared for at home. She 100 % supports my dreams and everything and she doesn’t look at me in a in a bad way. She’s never. Done anything that to. She’s always been encouraging when it came to who I am. And even though I am a very I’m an emotional person, I’m an emotional rollercoaster right?
Chris Blount 29:53
– But she does a good job managing, helping me manage that, but also just being supportive and being assuring you know that when you have. A partner who’s there for you. And who can assure you that it is Ok to make leaps? You can go far, yeah. Other than. Also she was like now you got more time to be with the kids. I was like there, you know, because I can do stuff around the house more so that benefited her as well. Because I my schedule is more flexible. So I can work mostly at night like I love the studio. I create my own hours, yeah? So I can be there with the kids. I can pick them up from school. I can head to the studio like I did that today. You know the kids up from school hung out and then bounced. And I’m here and so that leads me to flexibility that I wouldn’t have had at my old job. Working a nine to five or anything. So she was she was like not only do I want you to be happy, I want you to know that this will benefit us by you living. You’re like I’m happier now I’m well, I’m better adjusted I can handle all the handle, all the trials and tribulations in a productive manner so that all helps. And a lot of that came from quitting their job.
Richard Dodds 31:12
– You telling me to quit my job?
Chris Blount 31:14
– No, not yet. Getting crazy now. It was like release your job. I was like ooh who gonna follow that?
Richard Dodds 31:24
– But, Nah, we’re telling y’all to quit your job. Y’all don’t do it. Don’t do.
Chris Blount 31:29
– It don’t holler at me about it. But yeah, it was that corporate life. Right it creates so much anxiety. I think we’ve seen the effects of it, especially with the with the pandemic because people were actually being more productive working from home than when they were at work. Because at work it’s like this. There’s this big anxiety we got to deal with. How many times you had to deal with some microaggression or like? Some boss like looking over you and things like that. It doesn’t create a level of comfort. And so I was working at my job and some people were nice enough, right? Not everybody’s terrible, but there was those people and I remember I was going to. I was going to quit my job. I decided I was like I’m gonna quit at the end of the month and then I got like approached by somebody’s asshole manager and it in the email? Right and i was, like oh yeah, I’m done this week. Never mind y’all. I’m leaving Friday y’all have a good one and the only reason why I did that. So my check around out you know what I’m saying? Because I would have left that date. Man, I was like let me get paid for this holiday.
Richard Dodds 32:46
– That that’s crazy, but I mean you said a lot of different things in there. It’s really so important for us to think more about our mental health than a dollar. And I think that’s why I like sometimes careers can be challenging because you get locked into a certain salary, and then once you get used to living off of a certain amount, sometimes it’s hard to bring your lifestyle down to just. To living a lifestyle that is below that, because maybe you were making a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year, but your passion to give you forty thousand dollars a, year you know. And that’s like you understand, like your story underscores how important it is to have a partner, whether it’s a spouse or a parent or a friend. Just someone who, whether it’s financially, whether it’s like physically helping or just emotionally supporting just how important it is to have. I said that they say it’s important to have a team and your wife was definitely sounds like she was definitely your team when it came to that.
Chris Blount 33:47
– 100 % she is. She has been amazing with the whole through this whole journey and the process. And so I couldn’t. I wouldn’t be where I am if had it not been for her, mainly because we had kids together. But like I think that. It’s real and i think for the most part you know to piggyback off what you said. It if I’ve made all that money and I was unhappy, I’m doing more of a disservice to my family. I would rather leave that job be there for my children. Be there to be emotionally available for my family, my wife, my kids, and that to me is worth more than money. I’ve never been someone who’s been so driven. By capitalist you know it’s. Because that doesn’t do anything for me. You know what I was listening? I’m a hip hop guy, right? Az once said, there’s this bar. He was like if money makes the man then on Iraq land. Saddam statue is still stand at the top of the stands. You know, I’m saying like it’s like if money was your thing. Like what does it make you really? You know, like there’s people who make money, but at the end of the day, are they good people? So I was. I’m more concerned with being a better person. I’m more concerned with being a good friend, a good husband, a good father than being like stacked with people. Yeah, I’m gonna the money is gonna come it will. And it did come, you know, saying like it, eventually it eventually did its thing. Yeah, but more importantly is that my kids recognize everything that I am and they got. They get a chance to see the hard work that I put in. And they get to see me be there, and my wife and I get to be there for my family and my friends really. So being present for the people in my life, and more importantly myself, is more important than my job. Hip-hop kind of helped me with that spiritually too. And the kind of defining who I am because it was, like, you know, I grew up listening to a lot of like you know, with the choice or I was huge in the dealer. You know dealer Royce 5-9 elzhi’s one of my favorite rappers and so there are those cats. And then you know, listening to comment and things like that. If you believe in heaven, why is the choice hell, you know all the things like that. So it had an effect on how I viewed life. And through hip hop I kind of found my spiritual calling and also a way of it helped guide me. Innocence to help guide me to a better way of life for me. And my importance, you know, my priority became about being. A vessel. For people to express themselves and also good a good man. Because I just want to do right by my people.
Richard Dodds 36:42
– That’s amazing that hip hop did that for you, yeah? It’s funny how you sometimes you we take for granted what the littlest things. I mean, music seems like a little thing, but it’s like I feel like it’s the soundtrack of our life, right? Oh absolutely.
Richard Dodds 36:57
– You’re going through so much and it’s like you’re hearing these songs and sometimes. But sometimes it’s a lot of. It’s a lot of stupid songs out there now. Like you know, I listen to a lot of older stuff now, like I don’t. It’s harder for me to adapt to the new music, and I always wonder when people say I don’t listen to nothing and stuff now I start to get it a little bit better.
Chris Blount 37:18
– But I’ve learned to appreciate both man i love the concept of duality, so, you know, at the time I heard ready to die by Biggie, which was monumental to me. It it’s the album that started out. It’s the album that made me go from hip hop. And the rapper, i was like oh I gotta do this because he talked about depression. Yeah, when I was young I was dealing with depression.
Richard Dodds 37:41
– And you didn’t know it.
Chris Blount 37:42
– Yeah, and nobody. Nobody spoke to me like that. Biggie was like Yo black and ugly as ever and then like with all the things and I was like damn I feel this because I felt like this was me and I never heard that spoken so eloquently and so straightforward right? But on the other hand, I still listen to Juicy J. You know I’m saying so funny. Dance all that stuff like that and i find joy in both, but it was definitely it. Definitely gives you a medicine man. Hip hop is beautiful when it when used right.
Richard Dodds 38:17
– So you said something one day when we’re talking and you said black joy is radical.
Chris Blount 38:23
– Yeah blade choice, revolutionary.
Richard Dodds 38:25
– Revolutionary, what? What do you mean by that?
Chris Blount 38:28
– I think black joy is revolutionary in the sense of we have every reason. And also it’s promoted so much for us to be. Depressed, angry, downtrodden, right. You look at you, look at the violence that goes on you. Look at the history and how the history is so riddled with violence. You look at the fact that we are. A lot of ways they play us like we’re undereducated. We’re constantly viewed as lesser than even up to the microaggressions that they put up, right? There’s plenty of reasons to be upset, especially when you are mindful of who you are. You know, not willful ignorance like the mindful of it all right, and I think to find pockets of joy. One of the things that I was I remember telling in front of mine on this white chick. I know we’ll be way being struck down. She messaged me. She was like. It just feels so grim. It’s so terrible. Like I can’t find joy in anything. You know, and I was like last in African American, but I was like Ok, but I was like, well what I’ve learned is to find pockets of joy. You know, we we’ve all been like. Take us back to any year. We were getting our ass kicked right but on the same token we find pockets of joy. You know, and that joy we revel in it because it’s revolutionary. It’s counterculture damn there. Because everything else in the world is telling us all these negative things. It’s beautiful to live in spite of people wanting you to die. Yeah, and that’s the beauty of it all. Like we and it’s the revolutionary part. It’s like in your face I’m going to be loved in your face of hate that to me meant so much to me when I remember my father was like don’t worry about these people because you don’t have to stick to that culture. You don’t have to assimilate. You know I’m never here for white comfort ever. So I’ve learned to enjoy myself. How I do it with my people with my culture because at the end of the day. They don’t matter, they was gonna hate me anyway. You know I’m saying so, like if they’re going to hit me anyway, then they don’t matter. I am not here to. Like Oh yeah, well maybe if I said this a different way then they’ll see the humanity in it. No, they didn’t before they’re not going to do it now, so I’ll just be joyful in my own space. And that’s how I kind of view things on that end. Being joyful is revolutionary. Be happy like be happy in spite of it. I see them. I’m not ignoring them, but also. I ain’t giving them that much value.
Richard Dodds 41:19
– Not even just that value, you just have power.
Chris Blount 41:22
– Yeah power, yeah. If I was, you know, back in the day, in church there was like don’t give the devil power. Yeah exactly yeah.
Richard Dodds 41:30
– That just makes me think of something that i say and I feel like I said what I say is that talking about blackness seems like it’s radical. You know what I mean when you start to speak about blackness? You seem like there’s a radical person, even though you’re just talking about your being. The thing that I found more and more as I look at blackness from a different perspective. Talking about, look at what it means to be black and all of the things that entails with us just simply being. In America on Earth, the more and more I see, the more and more my eyes get open and I start to understand some of those black people that. Like we were, some of us were sitting like, whoa, that he’s real radical. Like are they are she’s real radical like oh what is she talking about? But the more and more I see the more and more starts to make sense. Just because there’s so many things that as you open your eyes it peels back another layer and you start to really see what’s going on with our culture. And it’s just so much going on and they’re just you relating that like you know, like the abortion law like people think that it’s Ok to take away the rights of women’s Body and forced them to have pregnancies that they may not be prepared for whatever. Whatever the sentiment may be.
Chris Blount 42:54
– Yeah, and honestly, that’s just it’s people picking and choosing. Yeah, it’s people picking and choosing, which is why I was like they should fight like hell.
Richard Dodds 43:03
– And I like I think they.
Chris Blount 43:04
– Will yeah and I hope they do. I hope they really do. I remember hearing something from. That’s funny cause it’s like i think about this from a black perspective. But also I got this from mister. Rogers like. You know mister. Rolling out these streets. He was a real one man alright mister. Rogers RP mister. Rogers like really loved mister. Rogers like so but now he was just more so like when you see tragedy sometimes we see tragedy on TV you know it could be easy enough to focus on the horror that we see but also pay attention to the helpers like focus on the helpers. Focus on the people doing the thing you know and I think that’s what’s helped me. We’re dealing with all the things in the world, right? Like I don’t. I don’t ignore it. But also like if I sit there and think about being black every damn day and all the things that go about it, I would. It would drive me nuts. So I have to focus on the good things that even the good that’s working against the evil like support them, support the people that’s working to destroy that narrative or to end that level of bigotry and racism. Support them. Yeah, I don’t like. I don’t care to know the clan members names.
Richard Dodds 44:25
– Going back to this real quick, what you were saying about your wife Fran and how they felt like their rights were stripped away and they couldn’t see the joy. I think it’s in those moments where some people can start to understand minorities. It’s like, oh, this is one thing that’s getting stripped away from you, but try having a lot of other things stripped away from you on a daily basis. Like things are stripped away from us that they don’t even recognize that when you start to talk about it, they be like for real. That’s like that.
Chris Blount 44:56
– Saul Williams said calamity mates cousins of us all think that. Through that it’s hard for them to see the empathy beforehand, because it wasn’t their life. We might as well have been the African kids from back of the day. You know these so those infomercials. Yeah, we felt that because they look like us, right? They were just like oh so two cents in, you know, but not really feeling the empathy right. And I think now what we’re seeing, especially after you know the Trump situation they were like it was the first time that white people felt screwed. So they were coming up to us and they’re like, Oh my God, like out here. Washington is white as hell and they were like Can you believe this happened and I’m like no really wow. I was like America was being American. This is like somebody coming up to me and be like did you see the end of The Sixth Sense? Oh my God I’m like yeah man we saw that in 99 you know like they could they couldn’t believe that the capital guys store. They couldn’t believe that Trump won. So it’s just the cognitive dissonance, right? Like it’s very much there are new to this. They’re new to see in America for what it is versus stuff that we’ve already known. You know that I remember watching the Black Lives Matter March, and I was like, yeah, you know that we’re talking about. Not killing us like y’all Wilding out. Yo man, one shot and not kill us like.
Richard Dodds 46:22
– Don’t kill us.
Chris Blount 46:24
– Kill us and they’re like how dare you?
Richard Dodds 46:27
– How dare you wanna live?
Chris Blount 46:28
– Exactly, yeah, so that’s that. Was wild to me. That’s when I was like. I mean, I’ve always known, but it was more so like. He’s like crazy so.
Richard Dodds 46:39
– Just bringing it all the way around man, what advice would you give someone who’s going through? Maybe they’re about to hit their bottom or they’re about to hit their breaking point? Are they and they missed their breaking point? What advice would you give them to help get them out of it?
Chris Blount 46:54
– I would say that really take that inventory. And realize that you are worth everything. You’re worth everything. Go out and get as much help as possible. Sometimes it may not be the people right in front of you. Sometimes you may have to reach out to a professional therapist. Or a different outlet, but find that to help out get professional help if possible. I think for me. One of the things that’s helping is give yourself a chance and give yourself grace. You know, take I took the proper professional help. But also it was a combination of that and then finding ways to believe in myself. Because I didn’t give myself a chance. For the longest so. Finding Grace in myself and giving myself that really helped out. So if anybody’s going through it, just remember that you are worthy. You are important. Whatever, whatever you’ve lost you can regain. Feelings wise, right? So like. There there’s a moment you feel sad and it’s like, well I’m I’ll never be happy. Yes you will. But also that doesn’t start until you have to give yourself enough grace. To do it, so yeah.
Richard Dodds 48:12
– I think that was well said Chris, that’s great talking to you as always man, it was awesome. I was so happy to have met you at the Convention. It was so great to have our group and all of us talk. It was. It’s such a refreshing thing to be around. So many creative black minds and i so appreciate you and your program or what you do. So thank you.
Richard Dodds 48:35
– And thanks for being on. I really appreciate you. So again, everyone. Thanks for listening. We’re talking black as a Crowned Culture Media LLC production. It’s produced by me, Richard Dodds and our theme music was created by the DJ Blue. Please make sure the rate and subscribe to the show on your favorite podcasting app. You can follow the show on Instagram at still talking black and you can follow my personal account at Dawson and that’s D O D D S I S M. You can find out more about the show is StillTalkingBlack.com where you’ll find previous episodes, episode transcriptions, and a link to the shop. So again, thanks for listening. Until next time.
Richard Dodds 49:12
– Keep talking.