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A Conversation on Health and Well-being with Award Winning Artist Common

Rapper, Actor and Activist Opens Up with University of Houston Psychology Professor Rheeda Walker

By Laurie Fickman 713-743-8454

Rheeda Walker, University of Houston psychology professor and expert on mental health and suicide prevention, has long advocated for the importance of having “real” conversations – the heartfelt, non-judgmental kind you have when loved ones need support.   

Now she’s had a different kind of conversation you won’t want to miss. Walker has conducted a one-on-one interview with award-winning artist and activist Common to discuss Common’s path to self-love and emotional resilience. The conversation, And Then We Rise, is named after Common’s newest book. It is presented by Calm, the #1 app for sleep meditation and relaxation on which Walker has released a 10-part series on mental health.

Together in conversation about mental health, UH psychology professor Rheeda Walker and rapper, actor and activist Common, discuss Common’s path to self-love and emotional resilience. Photo courtesy: Calm 

Common made history as the first rapper to take home a Grammy, an Oscar and an Emmy in his career. He has now turned his sights to promoting physical and mental health, leading him to team with Walker who has published extensive research that reveals people of color often experience greater mental health risks due in part to discrimination but that cultural resources are invaluable for psychological resilience. She has emerged as the leading expert on suicide research as the number of suicides in the Black community has tragically risen. 

“You and your loved ones are up against someone else’s insanity. You need so much more than mental health or wellbeing in this era of discrimination, invisibility and psychological warfare. You need an impermeable web of protection for your mind that I call psychological fortitude,” said Walker. 

Aligning with Walker’s work, Common has a similar thought.  

“If we build ourselves to be whole and deal with our mental resilience by having support to get to a place of mental peace...if we have those things, seeing what we’ve experienced in this country and across the world, we will be better for ourselves and our families. We can live happy and more joyful lives and we won't have to get on the phone and talk about who lost their lives,” said Common in the conversation with Walker.  

In the conversation with Walker, Common addresses what he calls the four pillars: food, mind, body and soul as they share practical strategies for holistic well-being. 

Walker’s series on the Calm app, Minding Your Black Mind with Dr. Rheeda, equips listeners with actionable tools to help you lighten your load and maybe even restore your soul. There is also a downloadable blog: The ABC’s to Minding Your Mind. 

About Rheeda Walker 

Rheeda Walker, professor of psychology at the University of Houston, is a leading scholar who has published more than 60 scientific papers on African American mental health, suicide risk, and emotional resilience. She’s the author of the bestseller The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health and the Unapologetic Workbook and the upcoming No Racial Elephants in the Therapy Room: An Unapologetic Approach to Providing Culturally Affirming Mental Health Care to Black and African American Clients.  
Walker debunks myths about mental health and delivers practical advice for use in everyday life. Her work has led to appearances on Good Morning America, The Breakfast Club, and NPR to name a few. Her expertise has been cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. 


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