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Nick Cannon looking cool in a hat and jacket inside a diner.

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.”

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Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse... 2020 is definitely the most fucked up year I’ve ever witnessed! After waking up & barely rising from my own dark contemplation of continuing my physical existence on this planet, this powerful warrior actually had the balls to do it. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, this was the strongest dude I’ve ever met! Just over a year ago a San Diego Police Officer rushed in his home and unjustifiably shot him placing him in a coma for months. I stood by his bedside and promised him that if he made it out & fought the good fight that I would make his dream come true and put his album out and share his story with the world. He fought and fought, he woke up, they stitched him up, he learned to walk and talk again and within months we were back in the studio recording. Even through his strength he would whisper to me that “Everything Still Hurts”. His music was definitely his safe haven and it was amazing. Paying for lawyers, putting money in his pocket, even putting the music together all meant nothing because I feel like I failed my little brother. The Cops will get away with shooting another kid, everyone will just look at this as yet another loving farewell post, but to me @ryanbowersob was so much more than that. Once again my brother you have put this world in perspective for me. You would do that quite often because I never understood how someone who was experiencing sooo much pain could still laugh and smile through it all. This photo was the last time we seen each other in person. It was your first show back! Soldout crowd in our hometown San Diego and you rocked it!! You were so happy!! Proved to so many that you could do it and that you were Super Human! The greatest comeback I ever saw!! We almost made it little bro! But I guess even flying Super Heros have to land eventually. But I am certain that your energy will never die and your Spirit is eternal, so I ask you still to forgive me for letting you down Warrior. I can’t help but think if I wasnt so engulfed in my own bullshit I could’ve been there for you when you finally took your life after several attempts... Fuck this place!! #CantWin #ForLosing????

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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.

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