Rapper Freddy E Tweeted his plans just before he killed himself. Do acts like his glamorize death and suicide? Or was this a last minute cry for help? And why Twitter?
Before the 22 year old Seattle-based rapper Freddy E. Buhl took his own life this past weekend, he Tweeted verses to his horrified fans, that made explicit his imminent death by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. This, just two weeks after Capital Steez, a 19 year old rapper, committed suicide, after leaving a Twitter message that read simply, “The end.”
Bill Johnson II, is a clinical psychologist who has written for The Good Men Project about Black masculinity and hip hop culture, and his own experience with suicidal feelings. He writes today, in “Why Did Freddy E Do It? Black Men and Suicide”:
I can say that oftentimes the individual struggling with depression is convinced that he/she is experiencing unbearable pain. Furthermore, the person may believe that such anguish has no end. That is to say, he/she feels horrible about his/herself (“bad me”) their current circumstances (“bad world”), and he/she believes the future is likewise horrible (“bad future”).
The young rapper had been signed to a record label, and had a popular YouTube channel. A recent visit found well over 138,000 followers of Freddy E’s Twitter feed.
Freddy E and rapper Honey Cocaine had recently broken up, a factor fans consider a possible reason for his death. The Huffington Post reports that, according to his Twitter feed, Freddy E had been awake for days before his death, and considered that he had possibly been drugged. His recent break up, and the potential of drug or alcohol use, are risk factors for suicide, says Johnson.
“In the case of Freddy E we see yet another wrinkle, letting people in on the suicide but taking full control of the outcome,” says Dr. Bill Cloke, a psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology who has been practicing for 30 years. “Suicide in this sense has a dual purpose, the commission of the act, but by also to make others feel helpless and responsible. It was an act of anger and pathos at the same time. No one could have helped him.”
Adoption by Black men of the patriarchal code of masculinity, and a particular bias among African Americans against a mental health system that has stigmatized and poorly served them, conspire to create conditions in which Black men cannot ask for help. Instead, there is tragedy and yet more violence. In yet another strange confluence, Freddy E’s popularity as a YouTube performer, as well as the recent trend toward broadcasting intentions to commit suicide on social media, both reflect the growing influences of both the internet and hip hop. “There seems to be more and more people living with intense pain and taking extreme measures in very public ways,” says Cloke.
According to statistics provided in Johnson’s article, suicide is the third greatest killer of African American males ages 15-24, and guns are used in the majority of completed suicides by Black men.
In Canada and the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). In the U.K., ring the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.