Every now and then, there is an increase in awareness of mental health and wellness issues. These spikes in attention occur after events such as World Mental Health Day or a highly publicized incident of suicide. Thus, it’s extremely important to advocate for mental health but there are times when people fail to be compassionate or understanding.


On Nov. 12, writer and singer Summer Walker canceled most of her North American tour due to her struggles with social anxiety. 


The 23 year old had been receiving backlash from some fans who had criticized her for not interacting with them during the concert meet and greets. She has a strict no hugging or touching policy when fans meet her which left some feeling unappreciated and like they were not getting what they paid for.


Walker defended herself on Instagram and said she avoids contact with others due to her experience as an empath. Being an empath means absorbing other people’s energies and feelings, so if someone is stressed, she gets stressed, and if someone has negative energy, she can feel it too. Despite this explanation, people are still saying that she is “scamming” or invalidating her mental health issues and telling her to do her job.


Some fans may not completely understand her reasonings for cancelling the tour, but this situation brings up an important dialogue about the pressures artists, especially Black women in the music industry, face. Black women in America are often not taken seriously in so many aspects of life, especially considering artists like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande have canceled tours and meet and greets for mental health reasons and were met with understanding, not anger. Similarly to the terrifying discrimination we face when going to the doctor’s office and being told our pain is just an over exaggeration, the dismissal of our struggles with mental health is summed up to being a ‘scam.’ 


Why can’t other people trust us when we say enough is enough? Why is it that we have to prove our pain and struggles for other people to sympathize? I want to know, would they feel the same way if she cancelled her tour due to a broken leg or a bad case of the flu? I doubt it, because as a society, we do not look at health holistically. Taking care of yourself is more than drinking water and eating vegetables. It’s also knowing your limits and taking a step back when things become overwhelming.


There needs to be an understanding of personal boundaries that people create to protect themselves. Although being a celebrity is known as a position of privilege, and in many ways it definitely is, there is a lot of pressure to open your life to the world and accept any criticism that comes your way. 


Personally, I’m very proud of Summer for knowing when enough is enough and making changes in her life to protect her own mental health. What is the point of anything in life if you’re not doing it for your own growth and happiness? Many people can take a play from her book and reevaluate what you can cut out of your life to make it better for you.

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