recent shocking suicide of Robin Williams, there has been a lot of discussion
and articles written about mental illness and its effects. However, when it
comes to African-Americans and mental illness, it is, for the most part, a taboo subject, spoken in whispers, or behind closed doors.
No doubt, a
lot of the secrecy and shame among AAs and mental illness comes from the idea
that we want to show the world that we’re a “tough people.” We survived slavery,
so we can survive anything. Therefore, mental illness is seen by many as a sign
of weakness – something that white people deal with, but not us.
plain fact is that, mental illness affects everyone, regardless of race, age or
class. And in an effort to give a voice to those affected by it, and help bring
the issue to the forefront, Queens award-winning filmmaker R.
Shanea Williams has written and directed a short film titled "Contamination" (her second short), which deals with a black woman and her battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Boothe and Ami Brabson, the film was recently screened at the Black Harvest Film
Festival in Chicago, where one of the attendees in the audience, Veronica
Bohanan, a mental health advocate and practitioner, said, after watching the
film, that: “I’m always pleased to see when films address the often silenced and
hidden African-American narrative around mental disease. Contamination captured
both the obsession and the compulsion of OCD.”
said she wanted to give voice to people we do not often see struggling with
had an idea about this character for a long time, a woman who was struggling
with severe germaphobia which resulted in her having OCD. If people are going
to learn something from this film, it is that mental health issues are universal
and affect people of all races, ages and backgrounds."
trailer for the film: