On the surface, it might look like Waka Flocka Flame has never changed.
The 6-foot-4, 35-year-old rapper jumped out of the Atlanta Hawks Team Store on a night dedicated to him on December 3 prior to a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Dreadlocks swung and the jokes flew from the moment he greeted the media, his fans and team members.
“Squad! Bow, bow, bow, bow,” Flame shouted, alluding to his controversial ad libs before one of his interviews, before adding, “Nah, let me get serious.”
But the more you talk to him, you notice that the “Hard in Da Paint” artist has matured and is more aware of his influence than ever.
Flame declined to comment on other rappers or the trending industry gossip, but the only thing he didn’t hesitate to talk about was mental health.
In 2020, the rapper announced his commitment to mental health advancement and suicide prevention. In 2013, the rapper lost his younger brother Kayo Redd to suicide. Soon after, his family started the No Reckless Internet Posting Foundation, which is dedicated to reducing online bullying.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men were 3.63 times more likely to die of suicide than women in 2019. According to Medical News Today, black Americans are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than white Americans. For all Americans, the Christmas season brings increased stress and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Read on on the next page.