“For Colored [Boys]…”

I recently heard a statistic that said the suicide rate among African-American men is rising.  For me, this statistic hit home this week.  Someone I had grown up with – another young black male – decided to end his life.  My community is devastated.

His name was Robert Brutton, but everyone knew him as Ribbit.  This entry is written in memory of him.  The two of us weren’t the closest of friends, but when you grow up in such a small community, you can’t help but to hurt whenever something like this happens.  Ribbit and I had played Youth League basketball together.  He had always been one of the happiest, most energetic people I’d ever met.   He graduated from high school this past May and was preparing to go off to college.  A few days ago he was found in his room.  He had shot himself.  Sitting on his lap were his high school football photos.

In 1975, African-American playwright Ntozake Shange wrote a groundbreaking play entitled “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Not Enough.”  For all the colored boys who might also be considering suicide…don’t do it.  Talk to someone.  Whatever you’re feeling or going through, there is someone out there who can help you.  And ultimately, ending your life only spreads the hurt and pain you may be feeling to those you love most.    Ask for help, now.

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