Note: This post discusses suicide and abuse.
Chicago-based rapper Cupcakke (neé Elizabeth Harris)—who we’ve praised in our coverage of her Red Bull Music Festival show and her most recent album, Eden—is recovering today after being hospitalized following an unsettling message posted to her Twitter and Instagram accounts last night saying that she was planning to die by suicide.
Immediately after the alarming post, thousands of people chimed in with messages of love and support, including fellow artists Iggy Azalea—who booked Harris to open for her on a tour that was later canceled—Charli XCX, and Lizzo:
According to the Chicago Police Department (via the BBC), the 21-year-old was taken to an unnamed hospital last night for a mental evaluation after officers went to her home to check on her. Her friend, comedian Elijah Daniel, confirmed that Harris was okay and resting at the hospital late last night.
This news may seem shocking, given that Cupcakke is best known for playful, humorous, sexually explicit party music; however, she has addressed mental illness and suicide in her lyrics, frequently in connection to abuse she suffered as a teenager. As she told Dazed in August:
I think everything that played a part in my life growing up is in my music. Being homeless, living in shelters, dealing with over-aged, older men that hit on me… all that is in the music. Because I’m not the only one who should know this. The world should know this. The world should know it, so that the next girl will know how to deal with it when the situation comes to her. I’m not the only one who has to deal with that situation; I know it’s many, many girls. Your voice is very powerful, and I try to use (mine) very wisely.
It’s a sobering reminder that it’s not always obvious when someone is suffering, and that mental illness can affect anyone. It also highlights the prevalence of mental illness among communities of color—particularly African-Americans, who experience a higher rate of severe mental illness than the general population due to inequality of care and other institutional barriers. (You can read more about that here.) We wish Harris the best, and hope she feels better soon.
UPDATE, 5:45 p.m. CT: Harris has reached out on Twitter to say she’s okay:
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.