Emmy Award winning actor Sterling K. Brown spoke to BET about the personal challenges he faced within the last year. Stemming from the snowball of unfortunate circumstances that were front page news for most of the year. Whether it was the global pandemic, racial violence, or the ongoing issues in politics. Also, how he implemented therapy sessions into his family life to combat all the emotions these events have caused.
When asked about how the global pandemic and racial unrest has been impacting him, Brown explained: “The most profound feeling I had in the midst of a global pandemic was that, for some reason I thought that racism would take a break. I thought we would be focused on this other virus, COVID-19. That maybe the virus of hatred and oppression could possibly press the pause button. Then in immediate succession I heard and saw what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.”
Brown explained that being on set and filming the show was cathartic in the midst of all the madness, mostly because he realizes a greater purpose. He explained that he is aware of the diverse audience that watches “This Is Us” - but being a show on NBC he is aware that a lot of white people watch. He sees his role on the show as an opportunity to “humanize” Black people to white audiences. That they will look at family like the Pearson’s on television, and see “that our humanity is first and foremost. Maybe the next time they see somebody who looks like me, they can lean in instead of leaning away.”
“I know a lot of the homes we come into are White. By virtue of their exposure to our family they may be able to expand the way they see people. I think that’s what the media does. Our experiences shape our perspective of the world in which we interact. I love the fact that Randall is a vulnerable, real human being. He is a Black man, but he is a human being. Hopefully folks can recognize his humanity.”
Brown later explained how he implemented therapy into his own life.” Brown told BET
In the show, Randall seeks help from a therapist. Particularly, Randall moves from his white therapist to a Black therapist. When asked about the significance of this, Brown said the following
“When someone looks like you and shares something in common with you, your desire to open yourself up to that person goes up. It doesn’t mean you have a distaste for anyone else. But when someone looks like you, you have to be comfortable. Therapy doesn’t work if you’re not comfortable sharing your full self with that person.”
Brown knew that his family needed help during COVID, so he implemented therapy sessions into their routine. He revealed that he has a family therapist that they all meet with individually and sometimes as a group. One moment in particular that profound, was an interaction with Brown and his son. Apparently, his son felt that he was experiencing anger issues - and instead of judging .. Brown suggested they go talk to someone about it. He says that this is the kind of relationship he wants to foster with his children. That there is no stigma around therapy in his house, and that talking to someone is not a sign of weakness but rather. Something you just do