A CONVERSATION WITH JERROD CARMICHAEL
Jerrod Carmichael-- comedian, actor, and writer was refreshingly honest and just as hilarious as many in the audience would expect throughout his conversation with Dr. Jess at the latest #BeWell series. He started off the night on a light note by giving us full discretion that he usually feels no need to leave his home, ever, and is rarely a casualty of “FOMO”. He did, in fact, express he was happy he came and was looking forward to this talk. The night included lots of laughter from his interactions with the audience during the Q&A and Affirmations segments, to more reflective moments -- where he opened up to us about what drives him as an artist, what his niece means to him, his view of the world, and growing through difficult conversations with family members like his father. Check out a few highlights of the conversation below.
1. You have to reckon with “Under the Rug.” There is so much benefit to exploring thought and showing the less glamorous or comfortable parts of ourselves.
Jerrod discussed how he feels what connects us all to our favorite artist- Jay-Z in his case - is that they make very personal, specific art to be put out into the world. “They show the flaws, although we feel the instinct to cover them up,” he reflected. Jerrod expressed his frustrations on the absence of the complexities, depth, and flaws that he associates with the black women he knows in television. What drives his work and him as an artist is that he loves to explore thought and explore these uncomfortable truths and perceived flaws that we normally sweep under the rug. He encourages us to do the same, as this is where we can have the most interesting exchanges and growth - creatively or in life.
2. Have those conversations with those you need to in your life. Don’t keep it all bottled in; communicating what you feel will set you free.
At some point in the conversation, Jerrod recalled how uncomfortable it was for him as a young boy to learn about his father’s infidelity. It put him in a weird place and created an unfamiliar medley of confusing emotions - anger toward his father and a sense of protectiveness over his mother, among other things. He shared with us that many years later after quietly dealing with these emotions, he addressed the situation with his father. Dr. Jess asked him if this was difficult for him to do, in which he replied, "it wasn’t." He insisted that no matter what the conversation is and how uncomfortable it may feel-- whether it is with your parents or whoever-- it is so important to just do it. Having the courage to reach that stage allows you to unload the burden you carry with you each day, that heaviness of secrets and helplessness. His advice to those on preparing for these conversations was to go in prepared, know what reactions to expect and how you would respond in each scenario. Ultimately, it will feel so much better to express, freeing you of any residual discomfort that can result from things left unsaid.
3. Always move toward having the best possible experience in life-- in every aspect. It’s okay to want that for yourself and demand that for yourself.
“People like chancing self-empowerment but not accepting self-empowerment,” Jerrod noted. Give yourself permission to accept nothing less than what is best for you. He gave the audience an example of how when we're out shopping, we always want the best clothes. We try to be very careful of what we select when shopping to make sure we are happy and feel we got the best. When it comes to our lives, he believes we don’t always guard the meaningful things as carefully or take the leap to go after these “best” things. Jerrod wants us to remember to know ourselves and understand that we are in control of our “filter” and how we process things. This way, we can articulate who we are and what we want just a little better and ensure we can go after creating the best possible experience for ourselves in life.
Dr. Jess (Dr. Jessica Clemons, MD) has taken her profession as a Psychiatrist to another level. Her work focuses on engaging the community through public conversations intended to inspire and normalize conversations on mental health. During the Q&A session, audience members got the chance to ask Jerrod about his perspective on different topics, such as how to get through writer’s block and how to go about re-evaluating your friend circle. Afterward, positive affirmations were tweeted by the audience and read aloud by Dr. Jess and Jerrod. There is no doubt that the audience left with some valuable insight to apply to their own lives after listening to a conversation that was uplifting, hilarious, and honest.
Keep an eye out for the next guest for the monthly #BeWell conversation series by following Dr. Jess on Twitter or Instagram or the official #BeWell Instagram page. In the meantime, be sure to tune in to Dr. Jess’s Instagram Lives for more interactive conversations surrounding various mental health and self-care topics.