KB’s album ‘Tomorrow We Live’ helps listener beat suicide after mother’s suicide
Dwight Ford Jr., a student at Valor Christian College, contemplated suicide on Tuesday, April 21.
“End it now and you won’t have to deal with this stuff anymore,” Ford thought to himself that morning.
His mother, the biggest reason why Ford had enrolled in college, had committed suicide about two and half months prior. With her gone and his faith in God dwindling as a result, Ford wondered if he had run out of reasons to live.
In class on the morning of Feb. 5, Ford missed a phone call from his mother. He was having a stressful day, so afterward he took a drive to clear his head. As he pulled in his dorm parking lot, he got another call.
His mother had been found dead.
The last time that Ford saw her, he had taken her to the emergency room over suicidal intentions. He had driven two and a half hours from Canal Winchester, Ohio to Charleston, West Virginia multiple times to talk her out of it. These warning signs failed to relieve the heartbreak of her passing, but Ford pushed himself to rebound quickly.
“Initially, Dwight didn’t seem to change at all,” his friend, Jamie Ricks, said. “I think most people just thought he was in shock, but he accredited the unexplainable peace he had to God. Over time, I noticed that, while on the outside he tried his best to maintain his composure, I could tell that his mother’s suicide was taking a toll on him. I believe because Dwight’s heart for people was so big, he wanted to be an example for everyone around him.”
By April, Ford’s attempt to accelerate the grieving process had driven him to isolation, and then to depression.
“It was uncomfortable for me to be around people because I knew they thought I was broken,” Ford said. “Then every time I would go to church, I would start thinking about how my prayers didn’t get answered for my mom, how my mom’s not here and how I miss her.”
Ford’s depression sunk to a new low on April 21.
“I had so much faith in you,” he prayed from his bed in tears, “like … what happened?”
Suicidal thoughts crept in.
To take his mind elsewhere, the longtime Christian hip-hop fan forced himself to listen to an album which had released that day, Tomorrow We Live by rapper KB. The LP started lightheartedly, but with track No. 9, “Calling You,” emotion flooded away any calmness that the first eight songs had afforded Ford.
On “Calling You,” an intense KB tells the story of a friend’s suicide attempt. As Ford listened to KB fail to reach his friend over the phone and then drive to his home to plead with him, Ford relived frantic phone calls with his mother and the drives home that followed. More tears flowed each time Natalie Lauren sang, “Suicide, suicide, suicide,” on the hook.
Ford couldn’t have felt the weight of the song more than he did in that moment.
The softness of the subsequent minute-long interlude, titled “Save Me,” offered Ford a breather, but its repetition of the phrase, “You save me from myself,” kept him feeling like every word was written specifically for him.
This feeling climaxed as KB’s desperate prayers on the hook of the next song, “Drowning,” took Ford to his knees.
Tell me, can you catch me, I’m falling’ /
Tryna’ make my way to the shore, but I’m callin’ out /
I’ma be gone by the mornin’ /
I can feel the end comin’ now /
Don’t let me drown
“God, I don’t want to be in this place forever,” Ford prayed. “I don’t know how I can go minister people, how I can go change the world, how I can go encourage and uplift people, and I can’t really even get off the floor right now.”
“I genuinely had already been feeling like, ‘I can’t get my head above water if I tried’ … It was rough, man,” Ford said. “When I heard that album … I don’t know if [KB] realizes like, that album, it’s a powerful thing. Those last couple songs were so powerful to me, just because of where I was, and, if it was to ever encourage him, I’m like, ‘Man, you’re helping people really, genuinely defeat those thoughts because the song kind of comes from just a ‘God I need you’ kind of thing. I guess it helped me in vocalizing my need for God.”
Ford’s recovery wasn’t instantaneous, but he said Tomorrow We Live served as an anchor that helped re-strengthen his faith.
“I watched Dwight get a second wind and start gaining his hope back for the call on his life,” another friend of Ford’s, Jodie Jermaine, said. “He started getting excited about music and business again. I now know that KB’s music had a big part in that. To Dwight and I, KB has been an inspiration because even though he obtained a name, he never let go of the cause. He never seemed to lose the urgency for the world to hear the gospel. So with us being aspiring Christian hip-hop artists, he’s definitely somebody to look up to.”
Ford graduated this spring with an associate degree in interdisciplinary studies, which he said he essentially pursued to learn how to minister more effectively. And one of the ways that he ministers is through hip hop. The music video for his most recent single on Rapzilla is below, and, in it, he shares glimpses of his dramatic Christian testimony with listeners.
He doesn’t namedrop KB in the song, but Tomorrow We Live will always remind him of music’s immeasurable influence.
“When you have somebody like me who’s losing his mom and going through suicide, and then somebody like KB who makes a song that says, ‘I feel the same way. Let’s keep going,’” Ford said, “it kind of exposes the darkness that you’re dealing with and gives you hope to keep pressing forward.”