(dulcet music) (upbeat music) - Hello everyone and welcome to Black Nouveau.
I'm Earl Arms and this is our May edition.
This month, Milwaukee PBS begins a new digital series, Rhythm Cafe, MKE.
We'll introduce you to some of the featured artists and we'll take you to the Milwaukee film festival's, homegrown screening where a Milwaukee based film was the big hit of the evening.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
It's a subject that is too often overlooked in our community.
James Causey will talk with the mental healthcare provider about ways we can develop strong mental health practices.
But first, Alexandria Mack introduces us to the Dear Chloe Project, which looks at one of the most common problems among children and teenagers, bullying.
(upbeat music) - Dear Chloe, the girls at school are beyond mean.
They make fun of the way I talk and my hair.
The only friend I have is a girl who also gets made fun of.
There are days I wonder why I made it this way.
I cry a lot.
It took me a long time to realize that I was being bullied as an adult.
Dear Chloe, my whole life, I've been bullied.
I went to a predominantly white school and I was fat.
When they would make fun of me, I would go home and cry myself to sleep.
I felt so depressed.
Sincerely, Still Broken.
My name is LaKetta Caldwell.
I'm a youth development professional, so very passionate about using art as a platform for youth and as as well as adults.
The Dear Chloe Project came about, I had a student who was in the seventh grade and she ended up coming to my office and she was crying.
She had just got into a fight.
So the assistant principal sent her to me and come to find out she was crying because the students in her classroom were calling her monkey because she had skin that was beautifully kissed by the sun.
And she felt like she wasn't beautiful because people always made fun of her because she was dark skin.
And so this little girl fought all the time.
Unfortunately, she ended up getting expelled because she didn't know what to do with her rage and her anger and how to really navigate the bullying.
When I hear things that upset me, it becomes an artistic piece.
And so I was like, I want letters.
I want people to write me letters about the, especially young girls and women of the impact of bullying.
And we started writing our letters about the impact bullying is either had on your life or the life of somebody that you know.
Where have you, where you at with your letter Ari?
- Want me to read it off?
So, I didn't get to finish this.
So after I'm done with this part I'm just gonna say stuff from the top of my head.
I said, dear Chloe, I was bullied in sixth grade because of I was a new student and I was shy and didn't wanna talk.
- Every day I'll come to school looking happy.
And then it's like when somebody said something me, I'll like shut down.
Like I'll start to cry or like I'll get emotional because it's like, I was sensitive at the time, well, I was in sixth grade, so I was very, very sensitive.
I didn't have nobody like really on my side at that school, 'cause I didn't have no friends, no cousins or nothing that go went there.
So I was just basically by myself.
So it kind of felt, I kind of felt sad and lonely at the time.
- So, I would study drama therapy when I was at NYU and one of my professors said that your body remembers what your mind forgets.
Sometimes it's hard to verbally articulate pain.
- This is kind of hard to write.
I'm gonna be so honest.
This is kind of hard to write, 'cause I really don't like bringing this up.
But it's like, I feel like I had to with this one.
- Okay, so I have a question for you.
When was the last time you cried?
Are you afraid to let it out?
- I'm Brooklyn Rogers, I'm 14.
My first experience with bullying was in third grade.
(breathes out) My experience with that, 'cause I was really young.
I didn't really know what was going on.
It was like when it first happened it was just like a regular day.
I was on recess, I was just sitting on the swing just enjoying my time and I just hear a bunch of kids laughing and talking about me.
I don't really think much of it.
I just moved away and went on my day.
But it got worse over time.
As much as I tried to ignore it, I couldn't.
And it went from them talking about me, to them, it went from them talking about me to them, like making up stuff about me, like tripping me on purpose, shoving me.
It got so bad to the point where a kid poured water on me.
It got bad to the point where like he wanted me to pay attention to it and I wouldn't.
So then he did, what I never thought that would happened ever, He punched me in my stomach to get my attention.
And, I just ran.
From that experience on, it took a really big toll on me.
'Cause that happened from third grade all the way to my sixth grade year.
It didn't stop until I was in seventh grade.
And even in seventh grade, I still kind of got bullied and picked on.
So I have a lot of trauma from all them years from it.
- [Interviewer] Did you tell anyone when this was happening?
- [Interviewer] Why didn't you tell anyone?
- To honest with you, I don't even know.
- [LaKetta] A lot of our students, therapy is not an option.
Mental health is like in the African-American community, in the brown community, it means that you're crazy.
A common theme is trust.
That they can trust that they're going to be safe enough to share their story.
I think another common theme is that they have to fight.
That's the only way that they know how to deal with it and, with as far as mental health, a lot of them, they don't acknowledge it a lot of the times.
(somber music) - It's just.
- I don't know what I did to you, for you to feel like you had to do this to me.
I don't know what I did or said, to make you hate me so much.
I don't know.
It's like you look at me, you see this horrible person, I shouldn't be here.
(somber music) - [LaKetta] Brooklyn, it's okay to cry.
Hold on a second.
Can we stop for a second?
- I truly believe what you go through is not for you.
It is for somebody else who may not be strong enough at that time to get it out.
And, it makes me have empathy for people because I pull in the workshops I do, a lot, I pull a lot.
But I understand because I had to be stretched.
- LaKetta, she knows about a lot of the stuff that I've been through.
And even when I really don't wanna talk about it, she's always like, I'm here.
You can talk about it to me.
I'm not gonna judge you.
- She helped me a lot, 'cause it's like, when I talk to her about things, she don't judge me about it.
She'll like sit up, she'll listen to me, and then after I tell her my story, she'll gimme feedback on what I should do next time or if it ever happens again.
- Healing is a process.
It's not easy.
It's not for the fainted heart, but you're strong enough.
God wouldn't give you something that he wouldn't get you through.
- What I've seen from the workshops with the students that I've done, especially the young girls, I've seen some of them gain confidence.
I've seen some of them advocate for what they want, which I think is amazing.
- If you don't find the space to really let that stuff go it'll eat you up.
You'll either run, it'll kill you.
Your blood pressure go up.
You deserve to heal, you do.
You're better off than you think you are.
So I challenge you.
(banging on the table) What sincerely, if sincerely, what would you call yours?
(somber music) Sincerely.
A work in progress.
(upbeat music) - That segment on the Dear Chloe Project, illustrates how teen suicide and bullying are growing issues in our society.
Joining us to talk about the developing strong mental health practices and the importance of black clinicians is Dr. Lia Knox, founder and CEO of Knox Behavioral Health Solutions and co-founder of Black Space Inc. Dr. Knox, welcome to Black Nouveau.
- Thank you, thank you for having me.
- So how strong is a link between bullying and suicide?
- It is a very strong link between bullying and suicide.
When youth and even adults are bullied, they feel a sense of helplessness, a sense of, I'm not wanting to be here anymore.
I really don't have anything to live for anymore.
So why even be here?
- We were on the panel together, where I actually moderated, and you use the term mental wellness, instead of mental health.
Why do you use the term mental wellness instead of mental health?
- So when we mention mental health or mental illness, sometimes it comes from a deficit.
When people say, oh, we want you to be healthy or we need to really concentrate on your health, people are like, I'm fine.
If we mention mental illness, nothing's wrong with me.
I'm not crazy.
And so it comes from a deficit similar to the medical model but when we mention mental wellness, it's about being well, we have the right to be well.
Mental wellness is functioning.
I am able to function when I am doing well.
I'm able to function when things aren't going right, in a sense of I'm able to function daily able to handle problems and issues, even though I am not at my best.
So mental wellness is a state of mind when you're still able to function, even during the hard times.
- So we talk about stigma a lot on this show.
What is it about stigma that we still don't understand?
- So, when it comes to mental wellness, there is still a high stigma no matter what race, color or creed, but especially within BIPOC communities, especially within our African-American communities.
The stigma comes from, you know what we've been abused and used for centuries, whether it be in hospitals, whether it be in community or social agencies.
So when it comes to getting that help, there's a high stigma we have, we're strong, we've been through this before, we don't need any help from outsiders, or we can do this, we got this, we don't need any help, when in fact, yes we do.
Mental wellness is all right.
We've been doing things when it comes to being well.
However, sometimes we don't connect our mental to our physical, when in fact it's all connected.
- One of the problems that we have is that there are not enough black clinicians.
What's the gap and why does that gap exist?
- So there are only 4% African-American clinicians in the world, meaning in the United States and in the city of Milwaukee, there are only 2% African-American prescribers, meaning psychiatrists and nurse practitioners.
So there's a huge gap between people who look like us to be able to treat us.
So if I wanna find a psychiatrist or a counselor or a psychologist to treat me and make sure that my mental wellness is on point, a counselor, so that I don't have to explain what it means to be black, there's only 4%, 86% are Caucasian.
So 50% of my time in that chair is gonna be spent explaining what it means to be black.
I don't want to do that.
So 50% of the time when I go to that intake or that first meeting, I stop going.
So what do I do?
Cultural competency is also an issue.
It's a huge issue.
So if there are Caucasian therapists or other nationalities that are practicing, we need you to be culturally competent so that you can understand that I don't wanna explain what it means to be black or nuances about my culture.
- Are you saying that white clinicians don't understand what it means or how can you teach white clinicians to understand what we're going through?
- So first of all, it is not my job to teach you what it means to be black.
It is not my job to teach you what I am going through.
You have to be the one to ask.
You have to be the one to want to learn.
So if you ask me, certainly I will tell you, which gives me that clue of, oh, you wanna learn about me as an individual, all African-American clients or people are not the same.
So if I am sitting in front of you and I'm your client, you want to learn about me, I just happen to be African-American.
So now we can talk, you can learn about me better.
As a white clinician, please go out, seek the world, read books, but not only reading books or celebrating black holidays, however you can go.
Do you have a friend that is black?
But more than that, are you engaged in the culture?
Do you want to know more?
And you will know if I realize that about you because it'll show.
- You're doing a lot of teaching seminars and things like that.
How are white clinicians responding to that?
- They're responding great.
A lot of people come.
As a matter of fact, many times I have more white clinician, white society members, allies that are there, more so than African-American sometimes.
Many of the African-American people in my community, they already know this, this is not new.
But when they do show up, number one, they're showing up to learn and to see what it is I'm talking about.
Because we hold each other accountable.
We are communal.
So they want to know what is Dr. Knox talking about?
- [James] Okay.
- Is she saying the right thing and is it okay?
- [James] Okay, well fantastic.
This is a conversation we're gonna keep going.
Thanks a lot Dr. Knox.
- You're welcome.
(upbeat music) (wind blowing) - [Stephen] Milwaukee music itself, it takes on a different meaning especially when you get to the live music scene.
- [Malik] This is my favorite type of setting to play in.
- [Jacob] Anodyne is such a cool venue, but there's just something like really different and cool about playing in such an intimate setting.
- [Ty] This is actually my first experience recording in an intimate setting like this.
- Hi, my name is Malik Johnson.
- My name is Jacob Slade.
- I am Ty Wilder.
- My name's Dandy L. Freyling.
- My name is Stephen Hull.
(objects jostling) How're we doing?
- [Interviewer] Good, how are you?
- [Stephen] I'm still breathing.
(bass tuning) Is he practicing?
He's tuning up in there.
All right, look at him, go.
Well, this space is special to me because I came and saw one of my first concerts here, and I've been seeing, you know, a bunch of different Milwaukee artists performing here, and to bring myself, into this space and create something, this special, this intimate.
(blues music) ♪ If I ♪ ♪ Should take a notion ♪ ♪ I wanna get up ♪ ♪ Down, go down to the ocean ♪ - It makes me feel accomplished almost, you know what I mean?
You know, like I've gotten something done and that I can present this to everyone with a smile.
- This tune's called "The Storm".
(country music) ♪ Here comes the storm ♪ ♪ I believe that I've been born ♪ ♪ Batten down the hatches ♪ ♪ Look down, it'll be in store ♪ - Oh, I've been playing since I was like 13, but my sound has definitely transformed quite a bit just through traveling and meeting people and them introducing me to their kind of music.
(guitar strumming) ♪ My legs are ragged and my hands are sore ♪ ♪ Got one foot in and out the door ♪ ♪ Oh, what is it for ♪ - Whenever I write a song, it's always about a character.
It's always about somebody else, and I guess I sort of keep it that way so that it's not just me preaching my thoughts and emotions to the choir and it's more relatable in a character sense.
(cello pop music) - The feeling that you get is just so up close and personal.
You can feel all the emotions in the room and the artist can go off that, the audience can go off that and we can just have a great time together, so I absolutely love playing in a place like this.
I want people listening to feel joy.
I want them to feel happiness.
I want them to be relaxed.
(cello pop music) - This right here is my passion, sharing my story.
♪ I've gotten too comfortable ♪ ♪ In this toxic love ♪ ♪ So I'm calling you out, baby ♪ ♪ And I'm gonna bounce, baby ♪ - That's just creating my own music and expressing how I feel and letting people know what my thoughts are and my vulnerability are.
♪ You were sun on a rainy day ♪ ♪ And I need you in me everyday ♪ ♪ You got me feeling good ♪ ♪ I'm feeling good ♪ ♪ 'Cause I wanna feel, feel ♪ ♪ Feel your love ♪ ♪ 'cause I wanna feel, feel ♪ ♪ Feel your love ♪ - It very rich and very loving.
I feel like you can feel the love in my music and in my voice, so that's always what I want people to feel.
♪ I'm feeling good.
♪ - I certainly think that there's cool stuff about doing the full band arrangements, but, (electric guitar picking) I love the sort of stripped back sound and hearing how bands do it differently.
(electric guitar picking) I think I hope that like the intimate setting is able to illuminate some of the complexities that I put into it, in the instrumentation as well as in the lyrics.
♪ 'Cause you're holding me inside your hand ♪ ♪ Crawling deep into my head ♪ ♪ I never know what it's like ♪ - I think in Milwaukee it is a really cool scene because everyone is very supportive of each other and I think that musicians see their success, but also the success of others, as success for sort of the collective whole ♪ And express the things I've done ♪ - I think it's just a good opportunity to really hear the good essence of the songs that you write.
(guitars playing) (guitar strumming) ♪ If you would like to tune into Rhythm Cafe' ♪ - My name is Stephen Hull and I'd just like to say that you can find me and other artists like me on MilwaukeePBS.org, (blues music) ♪ And on YouTube ♪ (Stephen laughing) (upbeat music) - Thank you so much, Cara.
We are so delighted to be here at the Milwaukee Film Festival.
This is great.
(audience members cheering) (Chloe laughs) I'm Chloe Walters-Wallace.
I'm the director of Regional Initiatives at Firelight Media, which means I help serve filmmakers of color based outside of the polls of New York and California.
So everywhere else whose voices deserve to be heard and perspectives deserve to be shared with all of you.
- [Earl] This was a scene at the Oriental Theater recently with the Milwaukee Film Festival screening of homegrown.
Eight short films by directors of color from America's Midwest.
- There is a huge lack of funding for filmmakers of color in the Midwest for filmmakers in the Midwest overall.
And it just felt like a great opportunity to be able to serve these audiences.
Really deserve to see themselves and you know what their experiences are.
The Midwest kind of gets left out from the rest of the country in the conversation.
- [Earl] The project more than two years in the making, is a collaboration with Firelight Media, the Center for Asian American Media, PBS and a number of Midwestern public television stations, including Milwaukee PBS.
(upbeat music) - I wanna be an advocate for downtrodden, because once I was downtrodden.
(upbeat music) - To a lot of our identity of who we used to be and what we were all about.
Essentially tell a story.
- So we take a hold of this and make sure that our histories get passed on two generations after us.
- I would consider us to be first responders.
It feels like we're doing something actively to help.
- The precious resource that is teaching us how we need to be in the future.
- Hi, I'm Rachel Willis, your candidate for Lansing City Council at large.
- It's really all about local and regional storytelling, and service to diverse filmmakers in communities that often you don't really hear too much about.
But the voices and the stories from these areas are very important.
They're valuable, they're original, and we can all learn a little bit about our nation you know, thanks to these documentarians.
- [Earl] But the main attraction of the evening was Black Strings, a Milwaukee story about a group of musicians who also serve as first responders at crime scenes.
(orchestral music) - I am Dayvin Hallmon, founder and music director of the Black String Triage Ensemble.
The Black String Triage Ensemble is a group of black and latin ex-musicians, violin, violoncello, upright base, that play at the scene in the immediate aftermath of tragic events.
We in Milwaukee have chosen to prioritize shootings, reckless driving occurrences and drug overdoses.
So that, the seed of destruction that gets planted in your mind from either what you've seen or what you've heard, does not continue to play over and over and over and over.
- [Marquise] And we just wanted to give you all just a piece of what is happening in our city, that is being created in our city, that sometimes I think people forget is being crafted here.
This is happening here and it's happening nowhere else.
And it just is a testament to the legacy of activism and revolution that is actually happening in the city of of Milwaukee.
So I want to say thank you to the Ensemble for trusting me and my team to tell this story.
I hope that we did you all justice - [Earl] Black Strings is available through Milwaukeepbs.org.
You can also find Rhythm Cafe MKE there, along with the number of other digital offerings from Black Nouveau and Milwaukee PBS.
For Black Nouveau, I'm Earl Lars.
Have a great evening.