Make your home page

Melanin in May festival to showcase joy, raise mental health awareness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “Melanin in May” is in it’s second year. It’s a festival focused on spreading joy and raising awareness on mental health and addiction recovery in black communities, and other communities of color.

Representatives say if they can spread joy during a festival, they can spread information that may save lives.

It’s nearing the time for the second annual “Melanin in May” festival. Music artist Fliparachee is one of many to hit the stage, but his music isn’t the only message he’s sending. Roughly 16 percent of black people struggle with mental health, with some turning to suicide or drug use.

Having experienced loss, he’s hoping to spare others the same pain.

“Weirdo Gang apparel. it’s in memory of my friend #SoWeird, who lost his battle with depression. I’m pushing people in the the world to be themselves unapologetically and it’s ok to be you. be weird,” he said.

“Melanin in May” is a black-centered event that’s open to everyone. Packed with music, food, and vendors. This time around, there was room to expand it more.

Fliparachee began brainstorming with “Melanin in May” founder Dominic Dorsey on ways to heighten awareness during Mental Health Awareness Month.

“The more that we silo and the more that we silence, the more toxicity that persist in our community. We are literally killing ourselves,” said Dorsey.

They developed a plan to support joy and support a growing black-led organization: Minority Recovery Collective Inc.

“I know that it is imperative for us and others like us to exist, because we actually take into account how systemic racism and oppression plays a part in our overall mental well-being,” said Natasha Cheatham, founder of Minority Recovery Collective Inc.

Shirts with the words “We are the weird ones” were created. One hundred percent of proceeds will go directly to the Minority Recovery Collective Inc.

“Words are very powerful, and we’re the ones who give words their power. To be able to take a word like weird and to own it, and to celebrate it,” said Iisha Wesley, Executive Director of Minority Recovery Collective Inc.

Fliparachee says while it’s important to feel joy, It’s important to not be afraid of all of our emotions and to share them with someone.

“We are spreading the joy, but we also have to spread the awareness of what’s going on in our community too.”

The free festival is May 27 on the city’s eastside at CAFE (Community Alliance of the Far Eastside).