Master P, Carmela Wallace and Zak Williams Join Hollywood & Mind Summit to Raise Mental Health Awareness
Industry leaders gathered for the first-ever Hollywood & Mind Summit on Thursday afternoon, where several speakers and performers zeroed in on the intersection of mental health and entertainment. Hosted at UTA’s Beverly Hills campus, the daylong summit prompted conversations around how the film, TV, music and tech industries can work to break stigmas surrounding mental health.
Guest speakers Percy “Master P” Miller, Carmela Wallace (mother of Jarad “Juice WRLD” Higgins) and Robin Williams’ son Zak Williams — each of whom experienced tragic familial loss due to mental health crises — came together for a moving discussion. In a panel, “Turning Pain To Purpose Through The Lens of Celebrity,” moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s editorial director Nekesa Mumbi Moody, the conversation touched on each of the panelist’s experiences with tragedy, as well as how their own healing journeys have inspired them to be of service to others.
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“Helping others helps me,” said Wallace. “Knowing I have a purpose and that I’m carrying on my son’s legacy, that helps me with the healing process.”
Reflecting on the difficulty of losing his daughter to substance abuse in 2022, Miller agreed. “I’m turning my pain into purpose,” the rapper and entrepreneur said. “I want to be that parachute for other families. That’s how I’m going to heal. My life is not about being an entrepreneur or successful anymore, it’s about being a servant.”
Miller is an ambassador for NAMI — the National Alliance on Mental Illness. After struggling with addiction, Wallace’s son Juice WRLD died at 21-years old in 2019, just a few years after skyrocketing to music fame. Soon after, Wallace established Live Free 999, a mental health advocacy organization to provide support programs, financial grants and contributions to the ongoing conversation around mental health and addiction.
“In this industry, I felt like I was an outsider because it was so new to me,” Wallace reflected on her son’s rise to stardom. “I felt alone, and I felt like I couldn’t really help him the way I wanted to.” In offering her perspective on how to prevent addiction in Hollywood, the non-profit founder shared that “it would be nice on the industry part to have a guide or support for families, for people who are new to the industry.”
After losing his father to suicide, Williams established PYM (Prepare Your Mind), an organization dedicated to providing mental hygiene products to promote self-care.
“I want to help people understand that service is a path to happiness and healing,” Williams said. “Once you have [that], no one can stop you ever. They can take away everything from you. They still can’t stop you. You are an unstoppable force, and that cannot be overstated enough. Advocacy makes you unstoppable.”
“It’s going to take more than one person to help with this,” added Miller. “We are stronger together.”
Later in the day, Demi Lovato joined the summit for a conversation with Hollywood & Mind founder Cathy Applefeld Olson, in which they discussed Lovato’s own mental health struggle, and her journey to help others who may be experiencing similar events. “That is part of the reason why I’ve decided to be open about my challenges,” Lovato said. “I wanted to be honest with my fans because I knew that if someone was struggling that they could use that honesty as a source of inspiration.”
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