The Dallas Examiner
– Part 2 –
Black teens, especially young girls, are more likely by 8.3 percent to attempt suicide than White teens, according to a U.S HHS Office of Minority Health study.
Depression and low self-esteem are issues that plague African American youth and affect them academically and mentally. While there are multiple factors that create this issue, motivation and positive imagery could play a huge role in counteracting such life-threatening outcomes on Black youth.
This concept was put into action after Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and actress LeToya Luckett delivered an inspirational keynote speech to Southern Dallas female students at Desoto High School during its Female Leadership Forum, geared towards breaking this volatile cycle, Oct. 21.
“I hope they’ll be able to learn and not go through some of the things I went through,” she said.
The songwriter’s speech was filled with transparency and deep emotions as she related personal stories and unresolved battles of her own with the young ladies.
“At one point, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror and say that I was pretty,” Luckett expressed. “I still suffer with self confidence and not believing in the queen God made me to be.”
One of her more touching stories stems from her time with award-winning R&B group Destiny’s Child, which spawned successful solo acts such as Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. As a teenager, Luckett suffered from the same body issues that many girls face today.
“I use to have this thing about my legs,” she recalled. “If you paid attention to the Destiny’s Child albums and videos, I was the only one in the group that didn’t wear skirts, shorts or anything else. I only wore pants because I lacked confidence in the way God made me.”
A theme often reiterated by the famed singer is how weak mentalities and mental health could affect one’s future.
“Self doubt is a disease, and it spreads through your attitude,” she said.
Luckett noted that consistent negativity is a reoccurring matter among Black youth that leads to a cycle of bullying, depression, early pregnancy, dropping out and more. She expressed that these issues will continue to grow and get worse if not addressed it.
“Why do we lack confidence so much that we are scared to help our sister out?” she questioned. “When we see another young lady passing by let’s not tear her down and make fun of her because we don’t look the same. It is ok that we are all difference. That’s what makes us beautiful.”
The former Destiny’s Child member advocated to her fifth through 12th grade audience members that anything is possible through goal setting, a positive group of supporters and hard work. She mentioned that implicating these actions could break generational cycles and disprove all statistics put out against them.
“Don’t let this world put you in a box, and don’t let it put you in a category,” Luckett affirmed. “You can be whatever it is you desire to be as long as you work hard and don’t get distracted.”