Emancipate Yourselves From Mental Slavery: Interview With Virtuous Media On The Documentary ‘Empower’


Virtuous Media have brought out their powerful documentary ‘Empower’. The documentary series aims to focus and tackle issues of mental slavery and suffering in modern day westernised world. How our minds have been polluted via the media outlets and taken us away from our true self expression’s. We catch up with them to find out more.

Tell us about Empower?

Empower is a documentary about the modern day strife of living in cities with poverty like London. Rather than focusing on spreading awareness of these issues the documentary aims to give a real deep understanding of why we as humans suffer to allow us to look openly and compassionately into homelessness, poverty and mental health issues. I wanted to film and produce something that really hit home as opposed to another documentary about how “these” people need help. I reverse engineered the problem and rather than labelling the individuals who suffer (which doesn’t discriminate, it can be all walks of life) I decided to focus on the stresses of life itself to allow the audience to see that most mental health issues are environmental and brought on by emotional trauma. A lot of emotional trauma is brought on by the society’s stressors itself. Part 2 of the documentary series focuses on music, art and culture and how we can unite and express ourselves freely without living in the parameters of society’s “left brain” swayed paradigm.

What inspired you to look at mental health and self expression?

I wanted to talk about mental health and self expression because I feel it is at the core of all issues of modern day society. We are constantly told to murder our own self expressions. Individuals aren’t often praised whereas those who stick to the “status quo” are given reward. You only have to look at mainstream news, mainstream media, music, and business, whatever it is. There is a certain way “that sells” and this self-judgement is giving us all anxiety; young females are forced to look a certain way to be accepted by others whilst young males are forcing themselves into gang culture or talking and selling a lifestyle to fabricate their own ego’s, often again completely shallow and materialistic.
How do you think modern society is affecting our mind sets?

Society and media is SO powerful and what we focus on affects not only our mindset but also our moods and emotional well-being. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing a single programme about people struggling being on benefits, the “dodgy” neighbours who moved in next door we should ALL be so worried about, bailiffs turning up to take people’s money, the amount of programmes focusing on terrorism, then some girl prancing around in her panties drunk with her lips pumped up with lipogen, or some guy who is shallow and stupid and is purely on TV because of his looks. All of this is painting a picture. We haven’t evolved much… I remember being young and getting ticked off for slide kicking people in the playground after watching power rangers! How far have we come since then? Not much further if we are buying the tripe that is being pumped at us on a daily basis. I am positive however and this is partly why I made the documentary to show people that there is another way, they just need someone to wave at the door for them to walk through! So yeah society is controlling our mindsets and opinions of ourselves and others BUT only if WE let it!

Mental health is becoming a ‘hot topic’, but most information focuses on the external factors, such as social stigma. You have paid particular attention to the internal struggle, why is this so important?

I’m going to keep this short so people can really grasp the concept. It’s only EVER an internal issue. Everything is internal. There is no external without the internal. HENCE why it is so important to realise that our minds (internal reality) are being warped, polluted and controlled. When we as individuals become more balanced internally by working on ourselves then we will see that reflect externally. Change yourself and you will have changed your world

What can we do to start using the right side of our minds more? 

The right side of the brain is in charge of expression, imagination, dancing/ movement, holistic thinking (looking at things as wholes rather than parts), feelings, passion, music, poetry, art and laughter. So to use our right brains more we NEED more self-expression and also to look at things more holistically and with more imagination rather than analytically/ realistically. Looking at things from an emotional compassionate stand point would be a good place to start. You can see a pattern when you think of all the Artists, Poets, Comedians who have suffered over the years with “mental health” if this side of the brain is not incorporated as much in society and is considered more of a novelty then more right-brained creative people are bound to feel depressed.
You also focus on the near decade long economic downturn. How do you think this affects the younger generation, who have never known a life without austerity?

I think the younger generation and the current early adult generation are feeling the stress most definitely. But again it’s the perception the media has given us about everything. The 6 o’clock news could have the power to inspire people to make more of a difference but instead they talk about death, rape, economic collapse, terrorism, budget cuts and everything awful that is going on in society. The cost of living in London is astronomical there’s no denying that but with that said the internet has changed everything. There’s barely any talk of that. How many people have put up vine videos and are now making money off 1 min comedy clips? Or the people who have started a career in music entirely from a Facebook page and are now making a living for themselves off their passion? Or people who have set up charities online to help others? The list of positives that are happening is astronomical. BUT the news wants to make you worried about your neighbour, Muslims, paying your bills and not looking cool because you’re not following the latest fashion. It’s BS.

Artistic expression, like music, has long been a voice and source of strength for subjected populations. Do you think music still serves the same purpose in the modern era of record labels and materialism?

I think music like anything in existence can serve 2 purposes; it can destroy or rebuild. Entertainment is cool sometimes people want light-hearted stuff and I understand that. The mainstream music we hear on radio with the messages they churn out about fast cars, gangs, b*tches, are never talking about real life issues such as; Politics, philosophy, science, history etc. If that is all we stand for then we have murdered ourselves. Thankfully the internet has allowed us to now pick and choose and use other platforms for music, art, film, information. I truly believe the corporations are losing now the internet and social media platforms have allowed this engagement and self-expression to thrive on a mass scale. So the game’s over!

We hear part three is on the way. What can we expect?

In Part 3 I want to go into more detail about my personal struggles and the journey in starting VM as a clothing brand and movement to help empower, inspire and also promote others who are working on themselves in the spheres of urban music, illustration, self development and spirituality of some sort. My brand aims to stand for everything urban related that I’ve grown up with living in London as well as my love for music, illustration and knowledge. I am still working out how I’m going to make VM something that serves others. The documentary was a good place to start because I’m sharing what I’ve learnt with others to help ‘Empower’ them so they don’t need anything external to make a difference in their life and the lives of others. I built VM whilst rock bottom and I’m not ashamed in saying that. Hitting rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to me it allowed me to realise why I always felt so lost in my early adult life. Suddenly it all made sense. I want to say if you are someone who is suffering with stress or any form of mental health issue that it’s normal for you to feel the way you feel. Society has a lovely way of telling you to dust yourself down and get back to work. The beauty of it is this – those who suffer or are suffering I believe have awoken and are now on the path of self discovery and expression. Unfortunately some of them don’t know yet or are again buying what society has told them about themselves. No one defines you remember that. Only YOU define yourself. Have faith. Do more of what you love! Stay blessed. Love Wisdom Power.

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Find out more about the movement here https://www.facebook.com/Virtuousmedia/

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Merz is No Bounds' well-being lead. A longtime hip hop head with several years experience in mental health. He is also founder of a vegan Mac & Cheese food truck @lazyboyfoodkitchen .

About Merz

Merz is No Bounds' well-being lead. A longtime hip hop head with several years experience in mental health. He is also founder of a vegan Mac & Cheese food truck @lazyboyfoodkitchen .