From a very early age, young men are often taught to conceal their emotions. They are led to believe that showing vulnerability is a weakness. This mentality is especially prevalent in hip-hop, where for years, a dog-eat-dog culture has led participants (and fans) to hide depression and other mental health issues.
But as our own CineMasai wrote last week, rap is actually playing an important role in redefining black masculinity in 2017.
One of the loudest voices leading this charge is veteran producer 9th Wonder, who on Monday, in a stream of tweets, tackled the very thin, near-blurry line between the perception of a man being "bitchmade" and being able to express his feelings.
Emotionality being perceived as a weakness is not just a hip-hop problem—it's a societal problem—but hip-hop culture is playing, and will continue to play, a major role in helping to change this perception.
In just the last month, notable male rappers have opened up on and off wax about personal demons leading to drug abuse, attempted suicide, self-harm and severe bouts of depression and the effects of social media on mental health.
While 9th raises more questions than he provides answers, the critical takeaway here should be that finger-pointing is silly—the first step toward fixing a problem is identifying the problem.