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“REVOLT Black News Weekly” returned with Friday’s (Sept. 22) episode that took a look at a wide range of topics. First was a heartbreaking case involving parents accused of murdering their own toddler. There was also a deep dive into the growing use of psychedelics to help deal with mental health struggles in the Black community as well as a look at how Black women are asserting themselves in the gaming world. Furthermore, global news anchor Mara S. Campo interviewed REVOLT Chairman Sean “Diddy” Combs about his new album.
Last year in Florida, a 3-year-old child died of injuries so horrific that the parents were arrested and charged with manslaughter. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd described in gory details the scene officers came upon. According to the medical examiner, the special needs boy had sepsis and pneumonia, among other debilitating conditions, and had been described in reports as “rotting in bed” when found. His parents, Efrem Allen and Takesha Williams, were arrested after the child was pronounced dead at the hospital and they face multiple charges that include aggravated manslaughter.
However, the child was legally brain-dead for almost three years. The sheriff even noted it was recommended to the parents that he be removed from any life-changing measures because he would “forever be in a coma with no brain activity.” In July 2020, at only 10 months old, he nearly drowned in a pool, according to the police, and the medical team reportedly told Allen and Williams he would never regain consciousness. Brain-dead means zero cerebral activity — unlike a vegetative state — with no hope of recovery. A notable example is Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobby Kristina, who was kept alive for six months after brain death with the help of a ventilator.
“You need your brain to control other body functions and your skin is the largest organ of the body,” said Dr. Brian Odom of the University of Central Arkansas. “There were some serious wounds. They can occur very quickly — and without the proper knowledge or training, before you know what’s happening, now you have massive tissue loss [and] decomposition.”
The Florida parents would not give up and reportedly committed to around-the-clock care for their son with the help of state-provided healthcare workers three times a week. But in October 2022, the family allegedly stopped using the assistance and six months ago, Williams called 911 for help and said some equipment wasn’t working properly. The theory is the parents didn’t call sooner out of fear of losing their two other kids to Child Protective Services. Currently, Allen and Williams are in jail awaiting trial. But the amount of physical evidence means the state has a strong case considering the mother was essentially getting paid to take care of a child who couldn’t do anything on his own.
On a much lighter note, apparently, psychedelics aren’t just for hippies anymore. The use of drugs like mushrooms and ketamine is booming, including among Black celebrities. People seem to be turning to them as a form of alternative mental health treatment in lieu of traditional therapy or pharmaceutical drugs. Advocates are adamant they dramatically help people overcome depression and trauma. While you’ve surely heard of drugs like molly getting name-dropped in rap songs, the psychedelics are going from the club to the therapy couch.
“I think that it’s very important for the Black community to seek treatment because we have been disenfranchised for so many years,” said Tonia Miller, owner of Complete Ketamine Solutions of Atlanta. “And when we suffer from mental illness, I think we’re stigmatized, and we are stagnant and unable to grow to our full potential.” Miller’s clinic is part of an explosion in the therapeutic use of psychedelics to treat depression, anxiety and more. The most common used are LSD, MDMA, mushrooms and ketamine.
Some other potent psychedelics include iboga, which is a root from Africa, and ayahuasca, which is found in the South American rain forest. Both have been used for thousands of years by indigenous people. “Sacred plants have been with us since the beginning of time, and we just forgot about them or they’re pushed away, but it’s coming back,” said Shaman Bobby Shu. “There’s a resurgence of people understanding what’s going on.”
Moreover, new music from Sean “Diddy” Combs will definitely help soothe the soul. The Bad Boy Records founder and mogul has been busier than ever. Earlier this month, REVOLT’s chairman was presented with a key to the city of New York and honored with the Global Icon Award at the MTV VMAs. Also, he found time to drop his highly anticipated offering The Love Album: Off The Grid, which is receiving critical acclaim. Campo sat down with Diddy to talk about his latest achievements.
“This album is the Super Bowl of R&B,” said Diddy. “The purpose of this album is to unify the R&B community together to put a spotlight on number one, R&B and hip hop are two different things. Yes, we do all look alike. But R&B is different than hip hop.”
The album features a who’s who of talent including Busta Rhymes, Teyana Taylor, Coco Jones, Jeremih and more. “This record has been eight years in the making,” added Diddy when discussing the first official single, “Another One Of Me.” He gave credit to French Montana for looping 21 Savage in on what he and The Weeknd started. “It was a chance to work together as a whole unit,” added the superstar.
Over the years, the mogul has expanded his business portfolio while raising kids and experiencing loss with the deaths of music exec and mentor Andre Harrell and longtime love Kim Porter. “It pushed me into this era,” said Diddy of how he’s coped. “Just all the loss that I was feeling.”
The proud father was especially passionate when discussing the creation of the track “Kim Porter,” which features John Legend and Babyface. “I would always say I can’t make a hit record unless my heart is broken,” he explained. “That’s kind of how this record came about. I called [like], ‘Yo, Babyface, I got this idea. Music is magical, Babyface. Your voice is magical. I need to pierce the heavens above to get this message to Kim, so she can come and visit me in my dreams. I’m not joking. I’m making this record for her. I’m not making it for no streaming. I just want her to hear this record [and] come visit me in my dreams.’ It definitely worked, she has come and visited me.”
Be sure to watch new episodes of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app.