Black Celebrities and Influencers Who Have Prospered Despite Mental Illnesses

A lot of people have celebrities that they admire, but what many people don’t take into consideration is that no one is perfect, not even their favorite celebrities. Many stars have to deal with more than just random paparazzi and crazy fans. Here are a few of the extremely talented and successful celebrities who are thriving in their careers despite their battles with mental illnesses.

Kanye West: From the outside looking in, it seems Kanye West has been on a mental rollercoaster for the past couple of years. On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kanye spoke on how Bipolar Disorder affected his life and how it is also his “superpower”. Though Kanye has said and done very outlandish things in his time, he is a very successful person in his music, clothing line, and shoe line with Adidas.


Michelle Williams: Former Destiny’s Child member spoke about how depression affected her. After reuniting with former group members Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland, she went into a dark place of depression which caused her to check in to a treatment facility to get the help she needed. She felt it was right to speak about her experience to encourage others to speak out and get help.


Demetrius Harmon: Demetrius is best known for his Vines and skits with his friends, but he is very open about his battle with depression. He has opened up about how his mother saved him from committing suicide and how his skits and fanbase have made him who he is today.  Demetrius is now thriving in his modeling career and in his clothing line that promotes self-love.


Kerry Washington: The Confirmation actress revealed her struggles with bulimia and body shame in an article with People Magazine. She would eat emotionally, then feel guilty about it. In that guilt, she would work out and purge the extra calories. She is a very talented actress and she has gone through a lot and now she is very well known from her role as Olivia Pope in Scandal.


Brandon Marshall: Brandon is a wide receiver for the New York Giants and a founder of Project 375. Project 375 helps train adults in Youth Mental First Aid Training. He opened up with his battle of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 2015 when he wrote about the stigma surrounding mental illness and how he didn’t know he was suffering from mental illness himself until 2011.


Jenifer Lewis: Currently best known for her role in Black-ish, Jenifer Lewis was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1990. In an article on, she explained how the disorder affected her. She explained some of the problems that come with being bipolar and the struggles of the often high and low mood swings (also called mania or manic). Jenifer is a great actress and has shown that in many in films such as What’s Love Got to Do With It, The Princess and the Frog, Baggage Claim, and more.