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Angela and Vanessa Simmons are getting real about therapy and the importance of mental health in the Black community. The pair talked to ET's Melicia Johnson aboutGrowing Up Hip Hop season 6 and how therapy has helped them get through some of their family's darkest times.
"After I lost my son's father, I immediately had to go into therapy. I mean like the next day, because it wasn't making sense to me. It wasn't adding up. And I was like, 'How? Why? Why me?' There's so many questions you have after something like that, and I just know that therapy really helped me a lot," Angela told ET. "There's a lot more besides therapy like prayer and really just shifting and changing my thought process behind it. Because when you lose someone, you're like, 'Why me? Why God?' Because your life is completely changed forever when you lose someone. You lose a piece of you."
The reality TV star said it took months and months of therapy to reach a place where she finally felt OK.
"I look at my son's father through my son every day. He has the same name. So it's like, I didn't know how I was even going to get past that and just being able to sit down and talk to a therapist, and it took months and months and months. So going like two, three times a week to really feel strong enough to be okay."
But it hasn't always been an easy subject to broach in their family. Sister Vanessa said the stigma around mental health in the Black community will only begin to fade if they are open about it.
"It's very important for us to talk about it. I'm a big fan. Not fan, but advocate for talking about how you're feeling. I feel like there is a stigma around mental health and the Black community and the more we're open about it, I feel like the stigma will disappear and we'll be able to actually begin healing," Vanessa shared. "That's my biggest thing. Talk about it. Talk about it. Talk to each other. Check in with the people that you love and that you care about. You never know who's putting on a big, brave smile and is going through so much turmoil inside."
Adding, "I think the first step towards erasing the stigma is talking about it. Going to therapy. Taking that step and going and talking about how you're feeling inside. Letting it out. We have the tendency to leave everything in, and feel like we have to deal with it ourselves. We don't. And that is what needs to be communicated to our community."
"I have a lot of things going on this season. A lot of things that I'm working on," Vanessa, teased of what she goes through in season 6. "But being that we're in the middle of a pandemic, my sister's moving fast, I felt, in a relationship, I am playing the older sister this season. I am doing my due diligence to find out everything I can about Angela's new boo because I was the only one in the family who did not have an opportunity to meet him."
"In her defense and in their defense, we are in the middle of a pandemic," she added of Angela's romance with boxer Daniel Jacobs. "And I am all the way on the west coast and my family is on the east coast. So it gets difficult sometimes."
Angela and Daniel first went public with their relationship in August. In January, fans noticed that she had deleted photos of the two together on her Instagram. Ever since, people have been wondering if the two are still together and if they will get to see the relationship unfold on screen.
"They'll see some of it roll out on the season. Relationships are... They can be difficult, I think in general, right?" Angela confessed. "We're in the public eye, so you're going to see some stuff. As much as I give, I still like to keep some to myself too. But I definitely open up on the season about it. Having him on there was definitely different for me. I don't normally date too publicly."
"People don't always know who I date, other than people they probably been talking about since I was 17," she continued. "But other than that, I don't really talk or speak about it too much, but you'll see some stuff on the season. You'll see where we're at relationship-wise, status-wise because I talk about it on the season."
See more when Growing Up Hip Hop airs Sunday on WE tv.