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Baltimore native shines light on Black mens mental health in new stage play

Baltimore native shines light on Black mens mental health in new stage play
Baltimore native shines light on Black mens mental health in new stage play 02:50

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore native has created a new stage play called "What You Don't See" – that addresses the struggles Black men face with mental health. 

Brandon Fields wrote the play so that the hurt can be exposed and the healing can begin. 

" I believe the stigma has settled in so heavily in the African-American community that now we just don't wanna talk about it, we don't wanna approach it we don't wanna deal with it at all." said director and actor Brandon Fields.

That's why Fields is using the arts to bring light to a historically dark place for Black men. 

For generations mental health in the Black community wasn't taken as seriously as it should - hence the creation of this play entitled "What You Don't See".

Fields declared, "My hope, my mission, my vision, my push, in what you don't see, is understanding that everything that's not visible are usually the things that are holding us back from getting where we need to be.".  

And where we need to be is free in the mind. This play is centered around the journey of 8 men who are struggling through life seeking mental wellness in the midst of hurting. Something Brandon Fields knows all too well after his own bouts of depression.  

"Strength is sometimes found in weakness, understanding that conceptually everything that we consider to be about the Black experience for a man sometimes can actually transition into the woman as well." Fields says.

Women like Chennel Walters who plays the character Victoria providing a glimpse into the role of Black women on a Black man's mental health to create a path of understanding and healing.     

"We are just as much an influence on their mental health as their fathers are, as the world. You know we're their first peek at or their first dose of unconditional love." said Walters.

That unconditional love is at the heart of this play - to spark long overdue conversations that span generations of Black men and their families.    

"Hopefully they will see themselves and understand that it's OK to not be OK but there's help for you and there are people that can guide you along the way to get it where you need to be at least giving you the tools so you can work on it yourself and get there." said Walters.

Brandon Fields also mentioned, " People leave going home talking to the Black man that's at home that didn't want to come because they didn't want to face this and we start a brand new conversation of understanding and not just understanding but seeing. There's something big about saying to a Black man, hey I see you versus just watching them.".

"What You Don't See" premiers Saturday March 2 at 5 p.m. at the Chesapeake Arts Center.  

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