An Open Letter to Kehlani

Dear Kehlani,

The first song I heard from you was FWU and I thought, “Hmm, this is catchy.” From there I started listening to more of your music. A lot of your songs got me through a recent break-up actually. Your music is perfect to listen to when you fall in or out of love. You just get it. But there was one song that made me a fan though:

The Letter.

“And every girl needs a mother.

And dammit, I needed you.”

Two lines from that song that had me in complete tears. Two lines that a lot of people can not relate to.

But I can.

I live with my dad right? Most people find it odd which I understand why. In most divorce cases involving kids, the mother is usually given custody of the kids. There is a reason why my father was given custody of me and my sister.

I typically don’t go into grave detail about my relationship with my mother. When people notice my mom isn’t visible in my life, they ask about her. “Is she dead?” was a question I got often growing up.

No, my mom is very much alive… but very much ill–mentally.

My mom has Schizophrenia.

It’s something I don’t like to talk about. My family and I are usually private about that but for whatever reason, I feel like it had to be said. It feels like a weight has just been lifted from my shoulders. It’s something I’ve been struggling with since I was 11 years old.

My mom’s mental illness took a toll on our relationship. It was a constant battle between us–me telling her that she needs to get professional help and her being in denial about her mental illness. I was constantly writing letters to my mom begging her to seek therapy and counseling. Having a mom that can’t be there for you is not a struggle most people have to endure. I believe it’s safe to say, moms are usually, without a doubt, the parent that stays.

So when I hear these two lines from your song, it struck me. So many times where my mom wasn’t there when I needed her and although she couldn’t help it, it still hurt. The night before my senior prom, I had a dream that she helped me pick out my dress. I woke up in tears to find that it was just a dream. On the day before my high school graduation, me and my mom were on the phone and after a moment of silence, we both started sobbing. We knew why we both were in tears. My mom missed half of my childhood and now it was gone.

Me and my mom’s situation is vastly different from your situation with your mom, I know, but they are so similar. Your mom struggles with a drug addiction so it makes it hard for her to be there for you too. I fucking get it Kehlani. I understand your pain. It may be to an extent but that extent is so minimal.

Too many times, people like myself, forget that celebrities like you are humans. All we see is the ritz and glam of your life. We think that there’s no way someone with all this fame and glory can be suffering inside. We don’t even think about what happens after the cameras turn off.

People think they know everything about your life but they don’t. Hell, I don’t even know. We don’t know what you go through off camera. You can be smiling and looking fly on MTV and be suffering inside.

I’m writing you this letter because I know that you will probably see the hate you’re getting on social media and I just want you to know that I got you.

People who have not gone through depression do not understand it’s not something you just smile your way out of. It’s a constant battle that you have to navigate through throughout life. I’ve been suffering from depression since I was a young adolescent. Going to school to be bullied about my weight and personality and then coming home to a parent who was slipping away from reality was not a walk in the park at all. I kept it bottled up. I wanted to rot away in a dark corner somewhere.

There is no 1-2-3 step as to how I got myself out of that dark corner. I just know that I’ve been working through this battle for most of life. Before my mom became ill, she was my foundation. She was my rock. She was resilient. She was smart. She was outspoken and unapologetically honest. She was proud of who she was. I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I still do. I want to make the mom who raised me proud. I live for her.

What people don’t understand is that we all deal with depression differently. Some do like me and keep it to ourselves. Others do like you and share it openly. Neither is invalid. People think those with depression and suicidal thoughts have to suffer silently for it to be authentic. Why? Kehlani, I don’t get it. Wouldn’t you think people would want people to express that they’re in pain and that they need help? Why would you want someone to keep these dark thoughts and feelings to themselves? Why is an attempted suicide simply reduced to a cry for attention but a gone through suicide is a tragedy that people wish they had seen coming? Why is it hard for people to accept that wanting attention is a part of human nature?

Girl, you know people don’t be making sense. I swear.

Often times vulnerability is seen as a weakness. I don’t think so. I think there’s strength within vulnerability. It’s healthy and it’s vital for our well-being. It takes quite a bit of humility and courage to say that you need help and you can’t handle the world like you thought you would.

People don’t even know what empathy is nowadays. Social media has many pros but one con is that it has completely desensitized people. I don’t have to know someone to show them compassion. People don’t seem to understand you don’t have to be a therapist to have empathy.

Your Instagram post was profound. It did not go down in vain. Someone out there read it and is now reevaluating their life. I promise you. To say that you were about to end it all but you decided to keep pushing is so powerful. Please don’t let these feeble-minded people make you think otherwise.

No one should have to keep their pain bottled up. It shouldn’t have to take a funeral for people to see there was something wrong. Suffer loudly. Let it be raw. Let it be unabashed. Scream it from the mountaintops and those who truly love you will come running. Every time.

Kehlani, I hope things get better for you. I truly do. I hope that you keep finding reasons to make it to the next day. I hope Mondays become bearable and you seize every moment of life. You are so talented. You are so beautiful.

You are necessary.

*Kendrick voice* We gon’ be alright.

Much love,

Candace aka De La Fro


**P.S. – You inspired me to get a sleeve. My dad is gonna kill me when he sees it haha. *shrugs*









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