Cleveland Rapper, Archie Green, rose to the limelight, having earned a reputation for his talented beats and defense of sanity.
In 2014, Green was clinically diagnosed with depression and put her experience into words in her song “Layers.” In April 2016, the national media Vice news invited him to be part of a report on hip-hop and mental health. Soon after, other artists like the Cleveland-born hip-hop artist Kid Cudi went public with his battle with depression. At the time, “Layers” garnered thousands of streams.
“‘Layers’ is the most transparent autobiographical song I’ve ever written,” Green previously told Cleveland Local News. “It was a very dark time in my life, and I had kind of come to a point as an artist where I wanted to take it to the next level by really digging deeper. It was therapeutic for me to write this song.
Green launched “Peel Dem Layers Back” in November 2016, in response to the positive response he received for his personal testimonial. According to his website, he designed his nonprofit to “educate, empower, and equip black men and boys with the essential tools needed to live mentally healthy lives through healing meeting places and self-expression. cultural and artistic while representing hip-hop culture“.
His efforts continue as a self-proclaimed “Neighborhood Cope Dealer”. The name was inspired by the Cope Dealers Initiative, a free comprehensive 10-week mental health awareness workshop that focuses on juniors and seniors who have struggled with behavior and anxiety issues. Green started the program in hopes that counselors and high school teachers could work collaboratively to identify these mental health issues in young people.
Eight students from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio are members of the original program. Led by Green, the program creates mental health awareness by analyzing the lyrics of songs produced by the “Layers” rapper. Black youth are encouraged to channel their creativity by recording original lyrics based on lived experiences. During this time, a licensed social worker helps students overcome their mental health issues throughout the program.
Green hopes his program will “help them [students] process what they heard and what they learned in this album and the different scenes in the movie that are related to trauma, related to PTSD, anxiety, grief, the dismantling of white supremacy,” said Green told the Atlanta Black Star.
The Green’s Initiative first-round teens are expected to complete the program in March with a completed mixtape and a concert they will perform for their school.
Looking to the future, Green wants to expand the Cope Dealers Initiative program to schools.