How to Get Comfortable With Uncomfortable Feelings With Actor Skyh Black

Skyh Black

Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Skyh Black

Skyh Black spent much of his life dancing. In fact, he used to be a backup dancer for superstars like Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, and Rihanna. 

But, a few years ago he decided he wanted to become an actor. He took a break from dancing and put all his energy into launching an acting career—which meant he became homeless for a bit.

He took acting classes and with a lot of hard work, started landing roles in movies and on television. Some of his recent TV shows include "Sistas," "All the Queen’s Men," and "Lace."

Why Skyh Black Is Mentally Strong

Skyh is able to express his emotions through the characters he plays. He hadn’t felt comfortable talking about feelings in the past. And that realization inspired him to begin talking publicly about mental health. Now, he’s sharing what he’s learned about feelings through his acting career. 

He didn’t have to step forward and talk about his struggles or how he’s caring for his mental health. But he realized that there’s a huge void in these conversations, especially among Black men.

So, he is sharing his experiences in hopes of helping others who can relate to the struggles he’s faced.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • How Skyh went from dancing to acting
  • Why he doesn’t believe in backup plans or safety nets
  • How he became homeless
  • The warning signs that help him recognize when he needs to take better care of his mental health
  • The reasons why he never felt safe experiencing and expressing emotions in the past
  • What he learned about feelings when he began taking acting classes
  • The strategies he uses to improve his mental health
  • How he keeps a journal without writing down a single word
  • Why Skyh became suicidal at one point
  • How he deals with the guilt of not feeling great on the inside sometimes even though he has a great life on the outside
  • How Skyh managed grief after the loss of his grandfather who raised him
  • The one thing Skyh does right before he goes to sleep that has changed his mindset

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

Skyh talks a lot about how difficult it can be to express emotions, especially among men in the Black community. There’s often this notion that being strong means nothing hurts you.

But it takes a lot of mental strength to embrace and express emotions, like sadness or fear. And sometimes, it’s not safe for people to do that.

Environment plays a huge role in mental strength and mental health. And it’s important that we all work on reducing the stigma associated with caring for mental health and that we all work together to create psychological safety so that everyone has the ability to work on themselves.

Quotes From Skyh

Skyh Black

You have to make the concerted effort to believe in who you want to be and the steps that are needed to make that happen. But the belief is the hardest part because you have so many outside forces and opinions that we all take in every single day.

— Skyh Black
  • "You can't diminish what someone is going through because you just don't know their story."
  • "I'm walking in this body of a six [foot] one Black man and realizing some days I don't feel great. And that's OK. But I’m also having guilt that I don't feel great because life is great."
  • "I need moments of solitude to refill myself in order to pour into others."
  • "I think it's extremely vital to now tap into therapy and to understand why you are the way you are." 

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.