Breaking Brown

March 26, 2011

“I Wish it Would Rain”: Suicide and Black Men’s Reponses to Bereavement and Depression

I have been reflecting on Roger Penzabene, the Temptations song-writer who killed himself on New Year’s Eve, 1967, just before his “I Wish It Would Rain” ballad became a hit. If you wish someone you know had left a suicide note, then listen to this song, which expresses the emotional anguish, desperation and depression that lead to suicide, with the loss of a significant relationship being one of the risk factors for suicide.

“I Wish It Would Rain” is a 1967 hit single recorded by the Temptations for the Gordy (Motown) label and produced by Norman Whitfield.” Wikipedia. “I Wish It Would Rain” describes depression so well that it could not be a coincidence that he wrote it a week before his death. In particular, the song focuses on the human behavior associated with depression as well as the fairly consistent depressive thought patterns that are brought on by depression.

black man suicideIn “I Wish it Would Rain” (hereinafter referred to as “IW”, Penzabene points to a circumstance that has left him deeply depressed, even though most people pick themselves up and move on after the same circumstance:

Sunshine, blue skies,

Please go away!

My girl’s found another

And she’s gone to stay.

So far so good. Cheating wives are so common that Brazilian Portuguese has a deprecatory name for husbands and lovers who know their wives are cheating but stay with the anyway. The term is “corno” and it refers to the totally socially devastating experience of accepting that one’s wife is sharing her time with another man...CLICK HERE TO READ FULL POST AT FRANCIS HOLLAND’S BLOG



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2 thoughts on ““I Wish it Would Rain”: Suicide and Black Men’s Reponses to Bereavement and Depression

  1. Lyb says:

    Rodger Penzabene wasn’t black. He was Italian and Irish. His wife (Helga, still living) is black and Scandinavian. Just sayin.

  2. jdieqZX says:

    Hey Lyb, great point!  Actually, according to David Ruffin (Temptations) he was a Jewish guy that everybody thought was black.  Either way the meaning of this short article about depression is very relevant..

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