Add To Favorites

Former Destiny's Child member gets real about mental health in new book

Westside Gazette - 7/22/2021

Mental Health has been a major topic. No matter your source of getting the news, you can almost count on someone to cover mental health. Celebrities are also very upfront and honest about their mental health and the challenges they have faced. Some of the brave celebs that have spoken out about mental health are Taraji P. Henson, Brandy Norwood, Late rapper DMX, and Tamar Braxton just to name a few. Grammy Award Winner and former Destiny's Child member Michelle "Tenitra" Williams just released "Checking in", a book that gives a much-needed look at her struggles whether they be personally or professionally.

"When we fail to check in with ourselves, to be aware of our own thoughts, feelings, and spirituality, we fail to live as God wants us to live", said Williams during the first Chapter of the book. "Because we fail to see ourselves as God sees us".

Now, if you do not know anything about Williams, she made a name for herself. Many of her fans have no idea that she got her start in the industry as a backup singer. Her talents and unique voice led her to go on the road with R&B singer Monica. It was the affiliation with Monica that got her the connection with Destiny's Child. While in Destiny's Child, Williams was able to blossom and grow up in the industry. In fact, Williams was the first member to release a solo project during the group's brief hiatus. After the group disbanded, Williams has gone on to star in Broadway productions, release a slew of stellar albums, and win some prestigious inside and outside of the gospel community. Williams has also ventured into home decor. She also had a home decor collection.

So, life seemed to be going well. She is in one of the biggest groups in the world. Many would see this as ground zero for happiness, but this was not the case. Williams dives in and tells us when she started to feel feelings of depression or anxiety. One of the truths that she reveals in the book is that Destiny's

Child did not make her depressed, and that most of the issues she faced was something she was dealing with before she joined the group. In fact, she makes mention that members Kelly Rowland and Beyonce knew nothing about her challenges. Williams was not diagnosed with clinical depression until she was thirty years old.

"I remember feeling embarrassed and humiliated. I felt like a hypocrite, at the time, because this is the girl that sings 'When Jesus Says Yes.' This is the girl talking about empowerment and inspiration and I found myself in need of some help," she said during an interview with CBS news. "I found myself telling people to do the same thing that I had been telling people to do for years, which is to get some help if you find yourself overwhelmed."

Williams created a book that allows people to have those tough conversations with themselves. One story that stuck out was her experience with her ex-fiance, Pastor Chad Johnson. Fans may remember that Williams and Johnson had a reality show in the works on the OWN network. We know about the engagement, but we have no idea what happened. Williams gives a very transparent account of their relationship. She even goes further as to explaining where she feels they went wrong, or "the straw that broke the camel's back".

With this "Checking In", Williams brought a new meaning to the term "real talk". Case in point, she goes into one of the most embarrassing moments in her life, the infamous 106 and Park fall. That's right, she opens about her embarrassment, and what she felt afterwards. Just in case you have no idea what "106 and Park fall", just google it. One of the most compelling and touching aspects of the book is the way Williams speaks about her involvement in the group. There's no secret that Williams joined an already established group, so obviously she was not the favorite. With her small anecdotes, mental health knowledge, and scripture references, Williams is carving a lane that her fans will appreciate. Give it some time, I'm sure the term "Checking in" will be trending soon. Fans can also look out for her podcast of the same name.

According to the CDC, mental illnesses are among some of the most common health conditions in the U.S. More than 50% of the population will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.