Magazine article Black Enterprise

Backtalk with Ginuwine

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Backtalk with Ginuwine

Article excerpt

ELGIN "GINUWINE" LUMPKIN ROSE TO stardom after his 1996 debut with his first single, "Pony." But just four years later, both his parents had died, and the multiplatinum R&B artist spiraled into a major depression and turned to substance abuse. The father of eight, and his wife, former hip-hop artist Tonya "Sole" Lumpkin, have since focused their efforts on helping individuals battle mental illness. In 2008, the couple partnered with philanthropist Terry Mason to start S.P.R.U.C.E. (Special People Requiring Unique Care Equally; www.sprucekc.com), a Kansas City, Missouri-based program that assists adults who are mentally ill or have developmental disabilities. The 34-year-old Washington, D.C., native opened up to BLACK ENTERPRISE about his bout with depression and what he's doing to held others.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

You recently founded a program to provide assistance to people with psychiatric disabilities. What brought you to the cause?

There are a lot of mental illnesses [in] the black community. My dad shot himself in the head. He called me before he did it. As a father he was trying to hold up a strong presentation for me and for his family, but deep inside he was hurting. I feel like that sometimes now, but I'll say something. You don't want to keep everything in because it will start to pack on and you'll never know what you will do when you get to that breaking point. It's important to just talk.

When were you aware that depression was a problem for you?

My mum died of cancer the year after my father. It really hurt me. I was ready to end it a few times. I knew I was suffering from depression; I was turning into another person. The people around me didn't even want to be around me. I didn't like the person that they were telling me that I was. I took the road of self-medicating. …

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