September is a somber month as it marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Tragically, the CDC recently reported that in 2022 alone, close to 50,000 Americans lost their lives to suicide. Amongst young adult Black males and older Black men, it stands as the second leading cause of death. This underscores the urgent need for compassion and concern towards our loved ones.
Let me introduce you to kweisi, a talented poet hailing from the renowned south-side of Chicago. A graduate of the class of 1992 from Central State University, an HBCU in Wilberforce, Ohio, kweisi is also a proud member of the illustrious fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, Delta Zeta chapter. He further honed his literary skills through a Literature Master’s Program in Oxford, England.
However, kweisi’s journey has been marked by tragedy. His younger brother, James Lemar Ford, known as Lemont, was tragically murdered on January 11, 1992. The ensuing pain and anguish drove kweisi to seek solace in drugs, alcohol, and physical relationships with women. Yet, despite these external distractions, the pain persisted, leading him to contemplate suicide on several occasions.
Thankfully, writing poetry became kweisi’s lifeline. In a powerful poem titled “one shot away,” he found salvation. Through the art of writing, kweisi was able to express his darkest thoughts without succumbing to them in reality. This very poem, “one shot away,” is now being considered for the Best Song For Social Change at the 66th Grammy Awards.
Poetry empowered kweisi to not only write but also to meet and forgive his brother’s killers. It became a source of strength and healing for him.
Now, kweisi is ready to share his truth with the world. On Friday, September 29th, his album “the truth. the way. the life.” will be released. As a special treat, you can have a sneak preview on Spotify:
To stay updated on kweisi’s journey, follow him on Instagram @2kgpr_.
Lastly, if you or someone you know is battling depression, anxiety, trauma, feelings of isolation, or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) at https://save.org/ or call their helpline at 800-273-8255. Remember, you are never alone, and you are deserving of love and support.