Busta’s Person of the Week: Author and filmmaker advocates for Black fathers and educates about depression in Black men

Busta’s Person of the Week: Author and filmmaker advocates for Black fathers and educates about depression in Black men
August 31
14:34 2022

By Busta Brown

In his book, “Hate My Face: The Struggle Between Black Men and Love,” author Charles Crouch wrote, “I feel like Black men have gotten so far away from love, even with the music and our representation in films. It wasn’t cool to be compassionate. But love doesn’t make you soft, so I wrote about why Black men do need love and compassion.”

Crouch said he wrote that in 2010, but he’s still very proud of his work. In 2017 he wrote “Cape With Holes – How to be a Super Daddy.” The father of one shared some of the challenging myths and stigmas linked to fatherhood, particularly African American fathers.

“I believe Black men need to be there to nurture their sons, yet if you’re really involved, it can be challenging sometimes,” said Charles. He experienced one of those challenging moments first hand. “I wrote ‘Cape With Holes – How to be a Super Daddy’ because my son went viral when he was four years old, because he was extremely gifted musically. He was doing music production,” said Charles.

Music and Hollywood A-list artists such as Quest Love, Jamie Foxx, Erykah Badu, Anthony Anderson, The Legendary Bootsy Collins and more, were so impressed they shared the video on their social media platforms, which helped his videos reach over 20 million views. What genuinely connected with the viewers was his love and compassionate interaction with his son. “I would hug him, kiss him and encourage him, and I received so many messages of love and support, and I couldn’t respond to them, so I decided to write a book. I wanted Black men and boys to know, although society doesn’t care about your tears, it’s OK to cry and vent. But you must keep pushing forward,” he said.

The book became an Amazon best seller for weeks. This past Monday, Jordan started his first day as a 5th grader. Congratulations!

Although Charles Crouch is an amazing father, with a son equally as amazing, there’s another battle he fights daily. Depression. I asked Charles if there was anything specific that caused him to become depressed and his reply was open and honest. “Some people are just born with it or experienced some sort of trauma. Mine is a mixture of both.” He added that his battle with depression started in middle school. “Nobody was talking about it at that time in the Black community, so it became the norm for me,” said the 46-year-old.

At the age of 26, he decided to seek therapy. “They helped me pinpoint the things that triggered my depression and I was able to control it and I’m in a very good place in my life now. Depression is like cancer, it can come back at any time, so it’s a daily process.”

Charles became an advocate for depression and in 2019 he and his business partner, Corbin Coleman (4C Visuals Group), did a documentary entitled, “I’m Good Bro: Unmasking Black Male Depression.’’ The topic has always been taboo in the Black community, especially with Black men, so Crouch’s documentary takes us back to the historical effects of depression, as far back as slavey, and how it continues to affect Black men in corporate America, marriage, and the era of social media.

The Amazon best-selling author also shares the spiritual aspect of mental health in Black men and denial. “If I see you and say, ‘Hey, Busta, how you doing bro?’ And no matter how you’re feeling, you’re gonna say, ‘I’m good bro.’ And in most cases, it’s the exact opposite of that. That’s the mask that many Black men wear. We as Black men must stop being ashamed and realize depression is a problem and seek help. So that’s why it’s the title of my documentary,” shared Charles.

“I’m Good Bro: Unmasking Black Male Depression’’ has won multiple awards. You can find it on YouTube.

Standing firm and strong by the side of every strong and successful man is an equally successful, strong and phenomenal woman. The Twin City native also credits his fianceé, LaShawnda Fortune, for keeping his depression in check. “I was telling my fianceé the other night that every man knows what he wants in a woman, but not many men know what they need in a woman. I was blessed to have the best of both worlds. I found what I wanted and more importantly, I found what I needed in a woman with Lashawnda. She brought so much peace and love into my life,” said an emotional Charles Crouch.

I asked his beautiful future wife if it’s a challenge to always put her feelings aside to avoid what triggers Charles’s depression. She looked into my eyes with a warm and confident smile. “No, it’s never a challenge. I don’t have those moments because a woman is naturally nurturing. We’re always thinking about the household and the kids. We have that ability built in us to care and be that support system. But Chuck really loves and cares about me as well, so we both serve each other well. So it balances out my ability to always make sure he’s OK.”

That was one of the most beautiful, sweet and loving comments I’ve heard in my 59 years of living. It took every bit of strength I had to hold back my tears. As each of the lovebirds were speaking, I could see the love, respect and adoration they have for each other. As the Spinners said in their 1973 classic, Charles and LaShawnda have “A one of a kind love affair.”

Watching the two of them was an absolutely wonderful sight to see. The couple met just four months ago, but like the Stylistics said in their 1971 classic, “Betcha by golly wow, you’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever. And ever will my love for you keep growing strong. Keep growing strong.”

Charles is a poet and music producer as well. “Both are a source of therapy for me. I have so many compositions, I can use them in my upcoming documentaries.”

His accolades are plenty. 2020 Baltimore International Film Festival Official Selection 2020; Mental Filmness Film Festival Official Selection 2020; African American Film Marketplace Official Selection 2020; Down East Film Festival Official Selection 2020; Raleigh Film and Art Festival Official Selection 2020; Social Distancing Film Festival Official Selection 2020; Blackbuster Movie Trailer Competition Finalist; 2021 Cane River Film Festival Official Selection; 2022 LA Black Film Festival Official Selection Awards; Cane River Film Festival Judges Top Five; Mental Filmness Film Festival Realism Award Winner; Down East Film Festival Community Impact Award; Down East Film Festival 1st place Best Documentary; SE Manly Short Film Showcase (BHERC) Documentary Award; and Black Independent Web Series & Filmmakers Society Film of the Year Award 2020.

He’s also one of this year’s “Men That Win” recipients. I’ll have more details on that event coming soon.

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Charles “Chuck” Crouch. 

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