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By Philia Yatchou

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Once I went to a conference where they were talking about mental health in black communities.
It all felt so weird, yet so rewarding
Coming into that room filled with black, brown, light and white faces.

I have to say, I was kind of shocked you know, because well, from what I know, black people don’t talk about mental health

Some call it a taboo, I call it a deep fear

And of course, I am not talking about me
I distanced myself [at the time] from those people, my people
I just went because a good friend of mine invited me
it was nothing to me

One of my friends sent me a DM saying that riots don’t change behaviours
I replied that they make the rage and the hate get out of the mind

He answered that the rage and the hate grew in the mind because the system let it
The system don’t allow change therefore enhance rage
Riots should not be the answer to that
Discourse should
But the black community can’t find a unity in discourse therefore they riots

To me he wasn’t right
We have a unity in discourse
We want to live
It’s enough

To him too
but wanting was not enough
Education is

I agreed.


My mother has a PhD in Health and Society,
her thesis was about the healing power of spirituality,
she’s ‘’the psych’’ in my church
People come to her and talk to her, and then leave better.
And she talked to us too, you know,
my family I mean: 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 1 dad.
Yes, I have one.

In our home, I always felt like my parents were ready for us.
Like the “I got you” type of vibe.
I never felt privileged nor different

They got me.

Well at the time it didn’t occur to me that maybe I didn’t get myself.


The first guy I ever loved was white.
The moment we kissed, I felt like I betrayed my people.

One time, we were discussing children and I said I wanted to have black kids, he looked at himself and laughed.

I wasn’t joking,
that was my first step towards the break up.

Breaking up with a culture is nothing funny.

First time I kissed a girl, I was drunk.
I did it as a joke, to entertain my people. Black people. I was the only white one.

My skin color peeled itself out of my body the minute I chose Celine Dion over Ray Charles
And the sound of my voice shifted from the roar of a lion to the growl of a polar bear

It wasn’t about me.
It never was, it was about my people.


One time some white kid threw a banana at my feet while I was walking to my class

I laughed
It was funny to everyone why not me?


One night I woke up from a dream where I was me. The white version of me.

I started singing worship songs, because I didn’t know any better, and for a second I thought about the richness of being black.

And it did cover the monkey sounds in my head.

Black communities are not ready to take care of their people.
There I said it.

Wallace, S. (2018). Black America again [Photographie].http://blacksandblues.com/shan

Wallace, S. (2018). Black America again [Photography].http://blacksandblues.com/shan

Kaphar, T. (2014). Behind the myth of benevolence [Photographie]. https://kapharstudio.com/behind-the-myth-of-benevolence/ .

Kaphar, T. (2014). Behind the myth of benevolence [Photography]. https://kapharstudio.com/behind-the-myth-of-benevolence/

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  • Philia Yatchou

    Philia Yatchou


    Philia Sephora Yatchou is a strong, golden black woman. Born in Cameroon and brought to Canada at a young age, she has blossomed thanks to a close-knit family and a critical eye on the world. Filled with big dreams for women around the world, writing is a way for her to express them. Passionate about jazz music, fashion and art in all its forms, she spends most of her time dreaming of a more egalitarian world. She is currently studying law and political communication at the Université de Montréal. Her motto is "Still I Rise", taken from Maya Angelou's poem of the same name.

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Featured image – Instagram: @pedronapolinario with the models @flavianastacia @oliveiramilla_ @oliveiraajoy

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