Towards the end of season two, I already had in mind what guests I wanted for season three. I knew that I wanted to focus on some common but hard hitting topics that many of us are still not ready to talk about.
In this moment of thought, I had a flash back to April 2017. I stood fairly close to a wall near the bar in the O2 Islington. I was feeling very self conscious at the time. My daughter was around 5 months old and this was the first time I had been out to a rave for over a year. A mass of self induced judgements about my appearance, whether I still fitted in, whether I was dressed appropriately, should I even be out as a new mum, is my baby okay, could I still dance and so many other thoughts made me feel uptight.
This world that I was very much a part of almost felt alien to me and I honestly felt vulnerable.
Fast forward an hour or two and I watched the crowd indulge in reminisce with Katie Pearl as she performed her signature song, ‘Theres something in the air’. The atmosphere was electric and I felt warm inside to see a childhood friend still killing it after all these years.
Scholar Tee eventually took to the stage to thank everyone for coming and helping him to celebrate ten years in the industry. Whilst listening to him talk, I remembered how courteous he was. The date of the event had changed and we had a brief conversation via text as I wanted to clarify whether my tickets were still valid. Personally, I have never encountered such amazing customer service from a promoter, as he even followed up with another text two weeks later to check my party could still make it. It was refreshing to engage with a promoter like that for a change.
During his speech he dropped a massive bomb. A bomb so personal that it took everyone in the crowd by surprise. Without spoiling the details that are in the podcast he admitted that due to being depressed that he had tried to commit suicide.
In a venue full of testosterone, champagne, alcohol and recreational drugs here was this man laying himself bare and naked on the centre stage.
I, along with the majority of the crowd were in absolute shock. Firstly, there was no warning or build up, and secondly you never would’ve thought that THE DJ Scholar Tee, the commander in chief of the party would have suffered to a point that he would want to take his life.
My shock quickly turned to feeling emotional and then awe. That is one of the bravest things I have ever seen, hands down. Look at this man, a BLACK man in such an environment where the reaction could’ve cost him his street cred. Let’s keep it real, mental health is still a MASSIVE taboo within the black community. Oftentimes you can be made to feel silly or weak if you vocally describe your feelings of being low. A lot of cultures within the black community do not even believe that depression is an illness. You are expected to get up and crack on.
From that moment, how could I not make the effort to enjoy myself? All of my hang up’s vanished because they were nothing in comparison to what he had gone through.
Fast forward 18 months and I was sat with my phone, trying to pluck up the courage to send him an email about coming onto Love Laid Bare. I had started to write my proposal in my notes app, however self doubt kicked in and I couldn’t quite figure out what tone to approach him with.
Should I be formal or should I be relaxed? He’s a house DJ, so if I come across too formal he might think I’m a bit stiff. But if I come across too relaxed he may not take me seriously. But why would he even come onto Love Laid Bare anyway, who are you? You don’t even have 500 followers yet!
A month later I still hadn’t sent the email, but I managed to pluck up the courage after several rum cocktails whilst away in Antigua. Call it a bit of Dutch courage lol!
Five days later I received the most courteous of emails saying ‘Yes, I’d be highly interested’. I was literally over the moon!! Little old me had secured one of my favourite House DJ’s who actually wanted to speak to me about himself. At the point I’m basically Oprah! looool.
Scholar Tee actually arrived a few hours early, not minutes, but hours unbeknownst to me. He had been waiting in the nearby McDonalds until our allocated time which I was quite shocked by. I’ve had people not turn up or cancel at the exact time we are supposed to be recording.
Upon meeting him I could see that this was a man that had good old fashioned values. I admired how smart he looked and it kind of reassured me that he took our meeting quite seriously. Perhaps it was me that had made some unqualified assumptions based on the fact that he was a well known DJ. Everything about meeting him in person screamed, ‘I work in a corporate field and I am a professional’. I just don’t think I was expecting that at all, so it was a pleasant surprise to say the least.
This is a man who means business and is hardwired to be driven and focused. Even when going through some very dark times, he has always managed to pull through that adversity to create. Whether it be music, an event or managing his team at work; his lowest times appear to be the precursor to something great.
It is admirable that he is so conscientious about his mental health and has taken the necessary steps to take care of himself. I am hoping that the people who are reading this blog and listening to his interview will take something from it. You can suffer from depression, be in the darkest of places and somehow still find it in you to survive, keep going and even be a success.
I would like to thank Scholar Tee for being such an amazing guest and being so honest about his life and struggles.
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Take care of yourself