Every morning when I go to the gym, there are a couple of TVs that play a wide variety of channels. One of those TVs is tuned to BET. 5am-6am starts great with reruns of “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Then there’s this show that comes on around 6 called “Showdown of Faith.” The show, as you would imagine, is yet another televangelist who preaches the prosperity gospel. Only he’s quite sinister in the target audience to which he markets that gospel.
The primary focus of his segments seems to be mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, etc. He also focuses quite a bit on addiction. He preaches “stories” of people who were magically cured by “sowing their seed,” a form of prosperity gospel where you sow a seed (give the guy some money), and you reap double your blessings. The problem I have with this guy’s show is that it systematically targets a demographic that is sadly notorious for having undiagnosed mental illnesses: people of color.
BET’s primary demographic is people of color, and sadly there is still a stigma in the black community surrounding mental illness. The idea is that if you have a mental illness, you’re either weak or your faith life isn’t strong enough. Many people of color never seek out help for mental illness for fear of shame by their family or loved ones. Many of these mental illnesses go unchecked, thus leading to some pretty self-destructive habits.
Now back to this show. Imagine someone in the intended demographic waking up at six am; probably dealing with a bout of anxiety, or so down in the dumps they think their life isn’t worth living. They probably had BET on from the night before, so they see this guy telling them that all their problems will be solved if they just sow their seed. They feel they have nothing left to lose, so they fall into the trap of giving this crook money, hoping that they’ll be blessed double. Meanwhile, they’re failing to address their mental illness via practical medical means all while they help this crook get a bigger house, or a new private jet.
With this being said, I just wanna remind y’all something I’ve said a million times.
A religious faith should not be a substitute for practical medical help.
Let me say that a little louder so that those in the back can hear.
A RELIGIOUS FAITH SHOULD NOT BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PRACTICAL MEDICAL HELP
If you’re ANYONE struggling with a mental illness, GET HELP. If you’re a person of color struggling with a mental illness, I BEG OF YOU TO GET HELP.
You will not find peace by sending your money to a predatory televangelist. This guy’s behavior is highly predatory, and he knows damn well what he’s doing. He’s systematically exploiting the fact that many people of color simply don’t get help for whatever mental illnesses they are dealing with.
There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. If anyone criticizes you for doing so, they don’t belong in your life. Many people of color turn to destructive habits including drug/alcohol addiction, self harm and even suicide. Family members are totally blindsided, but the signs were always there.
Please don’t be another statistic. And for the love of God don’t let this crook, or anyone like him, trick you into giving him money. It ain’t worth it.
If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m ALWAYS a message away.
Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.