On Thursday all of Twitter was a buzz about a video purportedly featuring former child actress Maia Campbell in disarray. I didn’t post anything about it here because the gossip was just too mean spirited and low and I didn’t want to be a part of it, but Robin Caldwell wrote a beautiful piece for BlackWeb 2.0 on Campbell and why people should not be using this video clip to poke fun or relish in someone’s downfall, but to come to a better understanding about mental illness. Here is what Caldwell had to say.
By Robin Caldwell
Some days the mayhem on Twitter is funny. Today it isn’t funny to me.
Today I looked in the trending topics on Twitter and saw a familiar name, Maia Campbell, the sweet faced, beautifully locked girl from L.L. Cool J’s TV sitcom, In the House. I read hundreds of tweets but only found one kind post asking that folks stop making fun of her and pray instead. I then saw a post containing the link to a video featuring Maia on Youtube.com. I watched as much as possible and decided to tweet what I knew. Maia is schizophrenic; a fact that brought her late mother Bebe Moore Campbell and her father and step-father much anguish. Maia is a schizophrenic who won’t take her meds. Maia is a schizophrenic and unfortunately, she also has the honor of being a Twitter trending topic and #1 on Google Trends.
The number one hit with Maia’s name is a gossip blog and about 30 comments in on a line chain of comments is the one that states she is a schizophrenic.
This is why I care. My aunt was schizophrenic. She suffered through a partial lobotomy in the 60s, countless visits in and out of mental hospitals, and there were suicide attempts. Last year, Aunt Alice died at the age of 83. She was like a child; her brain locked in an infantile state partially due to the cocktail of drugs she took for the schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Of all of my memories of her, and there are many wonderful ones, I remember seeing my once beautiful aunt become like a monster when taking those drugs. She’d either be violent like Maia in that video or she’d go into a catatonic state – drawn in and lost.
The hardest part for the mentally ill is the waiting through the side effects, which makes most feel even crazier. And when they can’t stand it, they reject the meds like Maia.
Okay, this is a tech site. Here’s the plea I’d like to make on Maia’s behalf. Trend with truth. Bloggers who are receiving lots of traffic to your sites: Adequately research Bebe Moore Campbell, Maia’s mental illness and Bebe’s last interviews regarding living with a mentally ill loved one. It’s all there on Google. Then I challenge you to report what you’ve found and tell your readers the truth.
Let me make it easy for you. Here’s a hash tag: #MaiasTruth
If you’re determined to trend the girl as a topic on the Internet, trend with the truth. Don’t perpetuate or sensationalize something that affects many African American families.
Now, let’s help some other folks out. Here are some websites providing information on schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Retweet these, like them on Friendfeed, and post them on Facebook. In fact, email them to your friends. Use your mobiles to spread the truth in love and not a lie in mocking.
Trend with truth.
BlackWeb20.com covers website and application launches; culturally relevant Internet industry news; and mainstream Internet industry news from an African-American perspective. They also analyze emerging web trends and how they apply to web properties that target African-Americans or African-American culture.