The stigma around seeking help for behavioral health issues is real. Access to honest to god support and treatment can be challenging. So many of us crack jokes and act the fool to brush off serious conditions or self medicate using alcohol or drugs or food or other potentially damaging behaviors to mask larger concerns. This isn’t just an American problem either. It’s everywhere and it sucks. We often hear stories about idols ‘taking some time off to rest’ or being hospitalized for ‘exhaustion.’ But I am willing to bet that a fair portion of these cases include stress related behavioral health conditions and I think people are finally starting to put it out there.
I don’t usually look to Kpop or Korean Hip Hop MVs directly for an insider view on the living situations of idols. I mean, the MV is the fantasy. It’s beautiful colors, aggressive choreo, ostentatious fashion, and over the top story-lines. Obviously, I am generalizing here, but when was the last time an MV showed an honest look into what an idol’s life really looks like. I mean, even Winner’s video for Baby Baby was a clearly stylized look into their long, agency imposed hiatus following a very successful debut. So many of us are into Kpop and Kdramas and the fic for the escapism. We don’t necessarily want it to be real. We don’t want to dig a little deeper to see the dark underbelly. And I don’t blame anyone for that. However, San E, our awkward, lovable, super talented and crazy amazing San E, clearly felt that folks needed to be aware when he released his latest song, Counselor.
I don’t know if this is an honest depiction of his own experiences. I don’t know if he’s just taking the fantasy into a much darker place or if he’s telling the story of someone close to him or just made it up. But I’m willing to bet that this video is not pure fiction. In fact, I feel pretty confident that this largely muted collage of security camera film and ‘behind the scenes’ footage is pretty close to reality for more than one of our idols. My heart breaks every time I see this video or hear this song.
The beat is creepy and intense. The lyrics are painful and poignant. The MV might trigger folks. Approach with caution. But it is beautiful and raw.
San E, Counselor