Chris Lighty and Other Famous Black Suicides

Chris Lighty and Other Famous Black Suicides

The world of hip-hop was devastated on Thursday, Aug. 30 when news spread that manager and Violator Entertainment founder Chris Lighty was found dead outside of his Bronx home, from an apparent suicide.

According to reports, Lighty had been had been dealing with personal issues, including a massive $5 million IRS debt that he’d been paying off and a divorce from his wife, Veronica, last year.

Lighty, who was moving out of the South Riverdale home, apparently got into a heated argument with Veronica and walked away from the spat declaring, “I’m tired of this.” And just moments later, Lighty shot himself in the head behind his home, where cops later found him with a 9-mm pistol at his side.

News of Lighty’s suicide sent shockwaves through the hip-hop community, which responded in droves to the unexpected death.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a hip-hop hero. Chris Lighty has been a dear friend of mine since he was a kid. [He] was a brilliant partner in business and I was so proud of all that he had accomplished,” wrote hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

Though Lighty’s death is one of the greatest tragedies the hip-hop world has seen, this year, his demise serves as a wake up call about mental health issues and the rates of suicide in the black community.

Though our community has historically frowned upon therapy and counseling, and we’ve been invisible in some aspects when it comes to the world of psychology, Lighty’s death is one more tragic example that depression effects us and suicide happens in our community. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide rates have been high enough in recent years to claim one African-American every 4.5 hours.

Hopefully, our community will rightfully mourn and celebrity the life of Lighty and start greater dialogue about mental illness in the black community.

And Lighty is not alone. Check out more black stars who have attempted or successfully committed suicide. – nicholas robinson

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