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Wellness > Mental Health

Summer Walker: Why Can’t Black Girls Have Social Anxiety

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CAU chapter.

color:black”>The discussion of mental health has improved graciously over the years. Now people have become more accepting and understanding of the countless possibilities that can happen within the human psyche. In fact, the increased awareness and conversation has pushed the narrative to normalize mental health illnesses, therapy sessions, and check-ups. However, like anything else in this crazy world, celebrities aren’t receiving the same understanding and accepting treatment as most would expect in 2019. One new artist, Summer Walker, has been particularly vulnerable with her dealings of social anxiety and has even brought awareness to watch this form of anxiety may “look like” (because news flash: anxiety doesn’t look the same on everyone.)

color:black”>“Over It” is the name of Summer Walker’s sophomore album, and how she probably feels regarding all of the backlash she’s received through these past few months. For those who don’t know, Summer Walker is an R&B singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia, who has been in the game for some years now. However, she blew up when her debut album, Last Day of Summer took the world by storm in 2018.

color:black”>Originally, Walker was just putting out music, but, as part of her contractual agreement, she began touring after the release of Over It. It wasn’t until then that people began dissecting her appearances and calling her out for her lackluster performances, that she shared about her struggles with social anxiety. I myself am guilty of critiquing what seemed like a boring, low energy performance when she came here at box-sizing: border-box;color:inherit;font-size:inherit”>Spelman College this past spring.


color:black”>Nowadays, it is no secret that Walker has anxiety. She has stated in countless interviews and posts that she suffers from social anxiety and that’s the root of her performance issues. This is why she constantly wants to be surrounded by other “distractions,” while on stage. When Walker did a small tour for her debut album, her stage set included all the Zen essentials, like potted plants, candles, a soft rug, and low lighting. On the other hand, the tour now includes pole dancers and the same low lighting she’s accustomed to.

color:black”>Unfortunately, she has received a lot of criticism and negativity after revealing in a story on Instagram that she uses a “washing bowl” because she “hates showers.” That on top of the fact that she’s a black woman covered in tattoos has caused a lot of people to claim that she “stinks” like twitter user box-sizing: border-box;color:inherit;font-size:inherit”>iamsimoneee_. Moreover, people don’t like her different image or hairstyles that she proudly chooses to wear.

color:black”>All of this has since caused Walker to cancel her first and only tour. In a since-deleted Instagram post, she stated “Y’all can have the music & ‘ima just head out. F— the interviews, photo shoots, videos, & really the shows too. I’ll finish this tour out tho.” She feels like she isn’t cut out to be in the limelight because “…everything isn’t a miss America bad b—– contest.” 

color:black”>Immediately fans were upset, but Walker seems to be in a tough situation no matter what her actions are. The backlash Summer Walker has faced goes to show how anxiety, and mental health in general, is handled when people just want celebrities to be celebrities first instead of human beings. Furthermore, since her actions do not match the typical look of someone of social anxiety people have judged her extensively. So, the question now stands: have we actually made progression in mental health awareness, or is this another result of mental health be downplayed because it’s a “strong black woman?” Either or, let’s hope that people have recognized their wrongdoings when discussing Walker and she continues to prosper.


The tenacious Arianna Johnson is a junior mass media arts major with a concentration in journalism and a minor in political science at thee illustrious Clark Atlanta University. She's from the place where bigger is better: Dallas, Texas. This means that her love for BBQ is almost as big as her love for her state! She enjoys writing, shopping, makeup and here recently, doing nails. She hopes to one day write for CNN, Teen Vogue, Essence and more. If you're looking for sarcasm, political commentary, Black girl struggles, all things beauty and everything in between, then she's your girl!
Da'Zhane Johnson is a Junior at Clark Atlanta University. She often finds herself eagerly waiting in a Starbucks line, or happily looking for new coffee orders to add to her collection. Her major is Mass Media Arts with a hard concentration in journalism, so in her spare time, she's usually writing. To read more of her articles, check her out on Instagram @bydazh!