Lil Wayne is the latest major celebrity to give voice to the pervasive mental health dilemma that plagues America and was exacerbated during the pandemic.
The hip hop heavyweight explained his own teenage turmoil to former NFL player and current sports show host Emmanuel Acho on the latter’s YouTube series, “Uncomfortable Conversations with Emmanuel Acho.”
Wayne, neé Dwyane Carter Jr., was candid as he recalled how he wanted to take his own life when he was a lost 12-year-old kid being reared in New Orleans. The moment of truth came after he had gotten in trouble with his mother following a half-day of school.
“I picked up the phone, I called the police. Yes I knew where she put her gun, and it was in her bedroom. And so I went in her bedroom, grabbed the gun. I already made the phone call, looked in the mirror. [Put it to my head], and of course I was like ‘Oh, no.’ Cause I got a little too scared, that was my head. Like ‘Nah, nah.’ Then I said ‘F**k it’ [and put it to my chest].”
At that moment, Wayne said the late legendary Notorious B.I.G’s video “One More Chance” came on the television set.
“I’m looking in the mirror, so you could look through the mirror and the television was behind me. So I was watching the video through the mirror. ‘One More Chance’ was on. And Biggie was already gone or something. So I was looking, I was like, ‘You know what?’ Start thinking I had to get myself mad and noticed that I didn’t have to. That’s what scared me. How I knew I had a mental health problem was when I pulled the trigger… Aimed for my heart and didn’t feel a thing, though. So I wasn’t going through any pain. It was the shock. I woke up to ‘Boom, boom, boom’–to the police knocking. And that’s what woke me up.”
Global superstar, Lil Wayne, opens up about his mental health struggles which led to his attempted suicide at age 12.
This brave and vulnerable conversation is for anyone who’s ever struggled with mental health.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) August 16, 2021
The “Tap Out” rapper told Acho that he is eternally grateful to the police officer, whom he calls “Uncle Bob,” for helping to save his life. Uncle Bob was more concerned with Wayne’s state of mind rather than ransacking the house in search of contraband as the other officers did, Wayne recalls.
Wayne said he wishes that America collectively would give mental health even greater priority, particularly during these precarious times.
Flip the page to view Wayne’s entire interview with Acho.
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.