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  • Writer's pictureArchuleta A. Chisolm

Honesty and Healing at the Expense of Others

We don’t need counseling – you need counseling.” The words my ex-husband spoke to me over a decade ago still make me cringe. As our marriage was spiraling down and out, it was obvious to me that we needed help which included unpacking individual baggage. I had suggested counseling as a path to healing.

Therapy was not new to me, as I had immersed myself in it after trauma I had experienced in college and many years later after the loss of my mother. I was able to see change within myself, along with emotional growth. It felt good and I was able to live life standing in my full self.

One of the greatest lessons learned through therapy was being honest. It’s hard to tell the truth, because we are afraid of the implications the truth may bring. So, we cut ourselves down to a lesser version of ourselves. Regardless of how complicated it may be, there is a freedom being able to stand in truth.

This is why we were all anxious for Auntie Jada to bring herself to the table. For years, there had been speculation regarding her relationship with singer August Alsina. And when August finally addressed it in his interview with Angela Yee, we knew Jada would soon offer up her side.

After sifting through the jokes and memes, there were also comments that “August is a grown man”, and “He knew what he was doing”. This situation is much more than that. The bare bones of it are disturbing.

August was a young man who came onto the scene singing about trauma and pain. He sang about grieving the loss of his brother, and wanting his mother’s love. These circumstances, combined with stardom, set the stage for his substance abuse.

August was friends with Jada’s son, when she first met him. He wanted help with his addiction. And here’s Jada working through her brokenness, making a conscious decision to do that with a person whose own brokenness made it impossible to recognize unhealthy power dynamics.

She was August’s mentor and confidant. She was his elder, reminiscent of the mother he always needed. This is the very reason why teachers cannot have relationships with students, military personnel cannot have relationships with lower ranked soldiers, and bosses cannot date employees. This is what predatory behavior looks like.

Some say that Jada didn’t owe use anything. Well, “Red Table Talk” is all about this circle of radical truth. So, in natural form, if she was going to sit down at the red table, she owed us that much. We learned quickly that the objective of this conversation was to “clear the air” and nothing more.

At no point does Jada ever say this was unhealthy, or that she did anything wrong. She never acknowledged that she hurt anyone on her journey to healing. Jada diminishes her time with August as an “entanglement”. Even Will had to press her to be honest.

It’s the very reason why many Black men struggle with the idea of being openly vulnerable and sharing emotions. It’s almost as if we don’t expect Black men to need healing, or that they even deserve it. For August, his vulnerability got him brushed down like a spider web, by someone he gave his all to. However, even though it was complicated, sharing his truth set him free.

Whatever the future holds for Jada, Will, and August, I pray that it’s even more light, honesty, wholeness, and most certainly healing. We all deserve that much.


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