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Just days after finding himself at the center of a controversy over anti-Semitic and racially insensitive comments made on his podcast, Nick Cannon is now dealing with a tragic loss in his personal life. Ryan Bowers, a hip-hop musician with close ties to Cannon through the San Diego music scene, took his own life over the weekend. He was just twenty-four years old. In response, a devastated Cannon took to social media to pay tribute to his departed friend and acknowledge the “dark” place he’s in right now.
In an extended post on his Instagram account, Cannon referred to Bowers as the “strongest dude” he knows and said he fought back from a coma and returned to the studio to make more music. The Masked Singer host also accused himself of being too “engulfed” in his own “bullshit” to be there for his friend. You can read the entire heartbreaking message below that addresses the comedian’s own “dark contemplation.”
It’s been a horrible week for Nick Cannon. I’m not sure there’s anyone who can completely understand what he’s going through. The former America’s Got Talent star launched a since-deleted podcast with ex-Public Enemy member Professor Griff, who left the group in the late '80s after anti-Semitic remarks. During the podcast, the two discussed a wide range of social and racial issues. During the podcast, Cannon seemed to reference Melanin Theory, a pseudoscientific belief that melanin, a natural pigmentation found in skin, is at least partially responsible for behavior. A number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories were also referenced including ones that touched on The Rothschild Family, centralized banking and bloodlines. He also said Black people are the “true Hebrews” and tied that to anti-Semitism.
The backlash was pretty quick from some corners. Cannon was fired by Viacom after a more than twenty-year partnership. He was also widely condemned by some civil rights groups. He later issued an apology and took time off from his radio show to meet with Jewish leaders and reflect on what happened. It struck many as sincere and honest, but unfortunately, it didn’t go over well with everyone, including some inside the Black community who felt Cannon didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn't have apologized. Some took to social media to call him a sell-out and say other unfortunate things. He addressed that backlash in a tweet, as well…
The relationship between the Black and Jewish communities has been a much-discussed issue over the past week. It has also been the subject of several thoughtful editorials by the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jemele Hill and David Love, all of which conclude in one way or another that the fight against hate must be fought in all directions with an end goal of eliminating racism and bias in all forms.
It’s unclear where Nick Cannon or the conversation around him will go from here, but if the world is going to change, we need to let people change their own hearts. Cannon seems determined to do that, and I sincerely hope he doesn’t let the dissenting voices keep him from his own path of continued growth. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Ryan Bowers. To read more about his tragic death, you can check out his obit here.