Big Sean hopes to inspire people in new mental wellness video series with his mom

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Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press
·4 min read
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Big Sean (right) and his mother, Myra Anderson, on Aug. 17, 2019, at the Dauch Boys & Girls Club in Detroit.
Big Sean (right) and his mother, Myra Anderson, on Aug. 17, 2019, at the Dauch Boys & Girls Club in Detroit.

Big Sean says that as an artist, it was natural to get candid and honest about his struggles with depression and anxiety.

Now, two years after starting a conversation about mental health, the Detroit rapper continues to champion the value of wellness and emotional stability: At noon Saturday, he’ll launch a weekly video series that will run throughout May, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month.

The videos will appear at his Sean Anderson Foundation's Instagram page and website.

Big Sean will be joined by his mother, Myra Anderson ‒ who runs the foundation and has become something of his personal wellness guru ‒ to discuss assorted topics and techniques, including meditation, diet, sleep rhythms and mindset.

“They’re things that have helped me get to places in my life that I probably wouldn’t have gotten to, the things I’ve manifested and created,” Big Sean said this week. “It’s helpful for sure, so I hope people can take it for what it’s worth and be inspired to dive way deeper into it.”

Anderson, who said she has been exploring emotional wellness for many years, decided to take on the video series after an exchange earlier this year with Bushman, the veteran WJLB-FM personality.

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Big Sean poses for photos in the Fisher Building in Detroit on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Big Sean poses for photos in the Fisher Building in Detroit on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Bushman had been part of 2019 mental health panel hosted by Big Sean. Now, after a difficult pandemic year, he figured the subject was more important than ever.

“He said that after 2020, all of us need some help,” she recounted.

“I thought about all the tools we use, and with just a few simple lifestyle changes, people could do so much for their depression and anxiety, their happiness and their health,” Anderson said. “So we thought we should put this out there.”

Since going public with his own battles, Big Sean has taken on the topic of mental health in songs such as “Single Again” and “Deep Reverence.” Last year’s “Detroit 2” album was packed with themes of self-care and his journey of discovery.

On the track “Lucky Me,” he revealed a heart condition he developed at age 19, rapping that he avoided surgery after a holistic doctor prescribed a two-week magnesium regimen. (“Went back to the regular doctors and they said, ‘Huh, damn, looks like we don’t need to proceed.’”)

Sean said that much of his learning has come via his mom, a former schoolteacher.

“She’s been doing all this research, and things she's been applying to me and to my circle of friends for a long time — from dieting, meditation,” he said. “I've been taking on exercise way more intensely in the last couple of years, and that's been helping tremendously. So we’ll be going over things like that, and ways to deal with stress.”

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Cover of Big Sean's "Detroit 2" album.
Cover of Big Sean's "Detroit 2" album.

Sean and his mother say the weekly May videos are introductory in nature, more about exposure than anything else. They’re planning a later project that will dive deeper.

Big Sean emphasizes that while he still has bad days, he’s “not depressed anymore.” But he has been a high-profile voice along with rappers such as Logic and Kid Cudi, and he said his candor about mental health has drawn new fans.

“I don't feel like an advocate or like anything like that. I really feel like I'm just doing what I should do, talking about the things that help shape me and helped me along the way,” he said.

Anderson strikes a note of maternal pride when she talks about Sean’s efforts.

“It lets people know they're not alone in their depression or anxiety or whatever they're going through,” she said. “I think that's real important, because a lot of times you look at celebrities and think, ‘Oh, their life is so great.’ But they're going through the same thing everybody's going through.”

For Big Sean, it’s all about paying it forward.

“It's time to at least do all we can to spread that information and that love,” he says. “Because it's all just love, really.”

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Big Sean and his mom launch video series with tips on emotional health