In a recent conversation with New York Times editor Dean Baquet, Jay-Z gives a major nod to the power of therapy. Interpreting this interview as a scripted drama, the setting is an executive office at the Times building in present-day America, the main characters are two highly successful black men and the plot is a conversation about “therapy, politics, marriage, and being a black man in Trump’s America.” It even comes with a score, “The Story of OJ” by Jay-Z.
Nestled into the very center of the interview, Jay Z mentions the impact therapy has had on him.
“I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected, and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it… being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a …you’re at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone’s racist toward you, it ain’t about you. It’s about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand.”
These powerful words serve as a reminder that good therapy can do many things-most importantly free us from defense mechanisms that breed hatred. The topic of therapy takes up mere minutes in relation to the other topics (for a deeper discussion of race issues in America see articles Black History Month: A Celebration of Resilience and Black Panther and the Power of Representation by Motivo’s Dr. Carla Smith), however, it seems to anchor the conversation before and after. He has contextualized therapy in a way that informs his entire worldview: how he handles racism, bullies, his marriage, fame, raising kids, etc. as a black man in America.
The most powerful tool in his arsenal is his belief in open dialogue about differences.
“You can’t have a solution until you start listening to the problem. What you reveal you heal. Right? If I have a tumor and I ignore it doesn’t mean it goes away. I have to diagnose it first.”
Jay’s words might be the most apt guidance on how to survive in America today.Katie Woodruff has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in trauma-informed care. She has worked in community mental health, female prison, and in private practice. A Louisiana native and Tennessee transplant, she is currently living in post graduate/pre-licensure purgatory and understands the need for Motive all too well. She enjoys unpredictable weather, her misunderstood pit bull and most of all, a good sense of humor.