Asante Blackk On How His New Podcast Uses Hip-Hop To Advance Mental Health Awareness
Photo Credit: C Fox / Double Elvis / iHeartMedia
Interviews , News

Asante Blackk On How His New Podcast Uses Hip-Hop To Advance Mental Health Awareness

This Is Us and When They See Us star Asante Blackk headlines a new podcast that lies at the intersection of mental health awareness and hip-hop.

From Double Elvis Productions, iHeart Media and Def Jam Recordings, the podcast "explores life and music through the mind of Ruben, a young creator hustling to find an audience, and to find himself. According to the description, "Ruben is an avid hip-hop fan growing up in the suburbs of NYC, struggling with family pressure and anxiety issues. With the help of his friends, he anonymously launches a podcast that goes viral and quickly finds his voice as an interviewer and host. Ruben’s podcast also becomes a must stop for emerging hip hop artists to be interviewed and within the fictional story, will feature and promote Def Jam artists."

In a recent interview with Shadow and Act, Blackk talked about podcast, mental health awareness, creating community in Hollywood and more.

"Here Comes the Break, is basically a story where we follow the character that I play, Ruben, and it's a narrative story that incorporates real-life elements," he explained. "My character Ruben, he is a podcast creator within this podcast and he interviews upcoming hip hop artists, along with debuting a brand new song from these hip hop artists. And they're all from Def Jam. So that's the premise of the show, but within him interviewing these people, there's also a lot of trials and tribulations...just the things that we go through as young people coming of age, and he really has to find himself through creativity and his art. I think it's a beautiful thing because I can definitely relate to that."

The actor also talked about how mental health awareness has become more important amid the pandemic and all of the events. that have taken place since last year.

"It's definitely important. It always has been and it always will be," Blackk explained. "But I think that with everything that we've gone through this past year and a half, and are still continuing to go through, a lot of us, we have to really check up on each other more than ever now...because you really never know when somebody that you love may need it. [Someone] may need a little bit of a push or some guidance or just a shoulder to lean on, you know?  I think that we all should aspire to be that for somebody because we all need that when it's our time and when we're feeling down. So if you can have a little bit of empathy and understand people's different emotions and understand how you can relate to that, then you know that it's good."

Blackk also talked about the fact that that he is an executive producer on Here Comes the Break, which marks a first for the young actor. "First of all, it's such a blessing that they were able to extend that title to me," he explained. "So I'm super grateful that this is my first project that I'm able to executive produce and I hope that there's many more in the future. But I just say for me as the actor in this situation and also being able to have that executive producer title, I think it's just that freedom to really be able to put my input in there. Because a lot of time as actors, you don't really have a say in how things turn out when you're on TV and film. It's kind of you just do your thing and leave it up to the director. But I was able to have a lot more input than I have been on previous projects, which is beautiful to me because I always want to be creating my own things and keep doing that in the future. So it's a really good feeling to have a little more of a stake in this one than maybe I have in past roles."

Watch the full interview below in which Blackk talks more about the podcast, This Is Us and more:

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