He finally cracked the mystery of his mental illness. See how he's using music so others can, too.

Mike Caesar is using his musical medicine to help others struggling with mental illness.

Meet Mike Caesar.

1 tan pou tout moun ki pa t 'kenbe l' reyèl .. #TheyDidntBelieveInMe #SakPasè #ZoeLife #dallasmodels #dallasmodel #ralphlaurendenimshoot #mikecaesar #gottaball #indiemusic #booked #malemodel #lamodel #houstonmodel Photo credit: Tyson Pugh Photography
A photo posted by Mike Caesar (@therealmikecaesar) on


As a child, he felt like something was wrong with him. But he didn't know exactly what.

He got into trouble. A lot. When he was in elementary school, none of the adults around him could figure out why he couldn't just "behave." He was angry. He had tantrums. He felt like he was on an emotional roller coaster. Fortunately, one counselor helped him discover something that made him feel better in spite of all the ups and downs.

The one thing that helped calm him down was writing.

That counselor helped change his life forever — she told him to keep a journal and write down his thoughts and feelings every day. He started to write short stories and poems, and pretty soon he was writing songs and rapping. But without the treatment he needed, he continued to struggle.


It took 10 long years — and a variety of medications — before he finally found the truth: He has bipolar disorder.

After he was diagnosed, he was finally able to get the right treatment to manage his condition. And it helped his relationship with his family, too, because they knew exactly what they were dealing with.

He started to use his musical talent to raise awareness around mental illness — especially in black communities.

Mike admits that he struggled with societal pressure to be a "strong black man" who didn't need any help. That's why he's using his music to reduce the stigma around having a mental illness and getting help for it.

Roughly one-quarter of black Americans seek mental health care, in contrast to 40% of white Americans.

But Mike wants to change that. That's why he's donating all the proceeds from his latest single "Gotta Ball" to domestic violence and bipolar organizations.

Money raised from his $.99 single will go to the nonprofits Joyful Heart Foundation — committed to ending domestic violence and sexual assault — and the Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation, which raises awareness for early-onset bipolar disorder.

That's only the beginning. He's also working on making his own foundation.

He and a few friends are creating a nonprofit called the WAIT Foundation. WAIT stands for "We're All in Together." He plans to use the foundation to continue to raise awareness around mental illness and other related issues like homelessness and domestic violence.

He hopes reducing stigma around mental illness will prevent people from being too afraid to ask for help.

In an interview with the Dallas Observer, Mike said, "Even if people don't donate, at least they're asking the question, and with each question, those stigmas that might deter someone from seeking help will begin to dissipate."

That's music to so many ears.

You can listen to his single on SoundCloud. (Warning: explicit language.)

More
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

For most of us, the hypothetical question of whether we would stick with a boyfriend or girlfriend through the trials of cancer and the treatments is just that – a hypothetical question. We would like to think we would do the right thing, but when Max Allegretti got the chance to put his money where mouth is, he didn't hesitate for a second.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular