Russ has always been vocal about drug use and its glorification on social media and, following the tragic passing of Lil Peep, he took to Twitter and put together an impassioned thread, urging artists to be more responsible with their image.
Russ makes clear that he both sees (and understands) the direct correlation between suffering from depression and self-medicating with drugs, but he can’t seem to “find the correlation between depression & publicly promoting your drug use.”
To Russ’ understanding, there is a clear line between opening up about mental health struggles and turning an illness into a public image to attract a wider base. Right now, it seems, that line is being crossed too often.
Though his argument mostly ignores the role of the fan, who in some ways directs the image an artist may adopt, Russ does his best to begin a necessary dialogue. In his own Russ-esque manner, he is attempting to foster an important discussion around artists’ mental health and what we can all do as participants in the culture to ensure that cases like Lil Peep’s are few and far between.
The tweets and Instagram posts being maligned by Russ might, in fact, serve as a lifeline for artists who are in need of help, but that doesn't mean that is always the intention. Beneath his high-road approach, Russ makes a valid point: “I’m not saying that when they post drug abuse publicly that’s it’s not a cry for help. What I’m saying is that it’s not ALWAYS a cry for help.”
Similiar to comments made by Azizi Gibson last week, Russ believes that artists need to be more "responsible with [their] platform," or at least have a greater awareness of what their posts and messages could imply. Whether or not you like Russ, his music or his persona on social media, his position on social responsibility is a message we should all get behind.