Last night’s episode of BMJ was… I just wasn’t prepared. Especially after watching the undeniable slayage of last week’s closing scene, when MJ rolled up in an SNC pitch meeting completely unannounced — with bruised face, Louboutins and all — and shamelessly son’d her potential replacement seconds before reclaiming her rightful position as primetime anchor (I’ve never Yas!-ed so much in my entire 25 years of life). With only three episodes in, BMJ has already hit on a ton of different social issues such as society’s standards of beauty, female competitiveness in the workforce, forgiveness, and — the lesson from last night’s episode — mental illness in the Black community.
There were absolutely no holds barred when the opening scene of BMJ showed a very lonely and depressed Lisa, MJ’s estranged best friend, eating her last meal of the day before taking a long, hot shower, slipping on a silk nightie, and heading to bed with a glass of red wine — along with three bottles’ worth of prescription pills to accompany it. Lisa’s tragic overdose came after all the drama between her and MJ in the season 3 premiere, when Lisa tries to make amends with MJ following her near-death discovery of Lisa sleeping with MJ’s ex-fiancé, David.
“I need time,” were the last of many harsh words that MJ uttered through clenched teeth after Lisa showed up at her door trying to apologize for what she had done. But with an abusive past, a severe case of bi-polar disorder and a longing desperation to be loved, Lisa decided to cut time short by taking her own life. Of course, MJ is left behind with an overload of guilt and remorse, as she scrolls through her call log to review the last four missed calls from Lisa, calls that were more than likely ignored on purpose. And the very last call Lisa made was on the same day she committed suicide. Oy.
In the final scene of the episode, MJ gives a very unfluffed eulogy at Lisa’s funeral, where she uses the tragic events of her friend’s life as an opportunity to encourage others to embrace every aspect of their truth — the good, the bad and the ugly — and to not be afraid to share it with the people they love. Overall, I applaud BMJ’s producers for shedding light on mental illness in the Black community, something that we too often overlook and misconstrue as a weakness, rather than a disease. As MJ so eloquently pointed out in Lisa’s eulogy, too often we try to put on this facade that everything is OK when it really isn’t.
As someone who has personally suffered from depression (another post for another day), I cannot stress enough how important it is to speak up and share your truths. Don’t be afraid to tell people how you really feel when they ask how you are doing. And if you’re the person asking the questions, be prepared to listen for the real answer. It could very well be a matter of life or death.
And since BET left the suicide prevention number up for five seconds before immediately flashing to their logo, here is the number again below:
1 (800) 273-8255
Please speak up.