Waka Flocka typically makes headlines for his social media posts that often leave fans in an uproar or for his statements on his reality show alongside his wife, Tammy Rivera. But, Flocka warmed the hearts of millions when he announced that he would be using his platform to help aid in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The rapper has experienced tragedy related to mental health after his younger brother took his own life.

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Waka Flocka 2011 | Estevan Oriol/Getty Images

Waka Flocka lost his brother to suicide

Flocka’s brother and fellow rap artist Kayo Redd, was reported dead from gunshot wounds in December 2013. Just hours before his death, he’d promoted and released his mixtape, Red Kisses. It was later reported that his death was by suicide and confirmed by Flocka in a distressed tweet that was later removed from Flocka’s social media feed.

Kayo Redd via Twitter

Flocka addressed Redd’s death in two separate tweets hours after his death went public. “God please bless me.” he wrote. Later that day, Flocka followed up with, “Ya Big Brother love you Kayo” and shared a 15-second photo montage of Redd. 

Flocka’s mother, hip hop manager Debra Antney, also spoke on Redd’s passing. “I just lost another son,” she wrote.

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At the time, Redd was experiencing his own personal struggles, including losing his eyesight. His family later explained that he’d been a victim of bullying.

Kayo Redd via Twitter

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It wasn’t the first tragedy for the Flocka family. Another brother of Flocka’s died from a car accident when he was 13-years-old. Antney later said Flocka took his brother’s accident hard and he acted out because he blamed himself. A member of Flocka’s crew, Slim Dunkin, was murdered during an argument at a recording studio two years before Redd’s suicide. 

Flocka spoke of Redd’s suicide in 2017 with Viceland and spoke about the feeling of regret he felt in the aftermath of his Redd’s death. “Before my little brother killed himself, I hadn’t picked up the phone. I seen him call and I said, ‘F**k, let me call Kayo back as soon as this s**t over with,” Flocka said. 

Flocka said he gave up rap for a while because the burden Kayo’s suicide weighed so heavily on him. “What if I would have answered his call? That’s when I said, ‘This rap s**t, F**k this rap s**t.”

Waka Flocka announces he’s dedicating his life to suicide prevention and mental health

The guilt of Redd’s death continued to follow Flocka and impact him in ways he never imagined. He continued to blame himself, telling Viceland that he understood how Redd being in his shadow potentially affected him. But Flocka says he was so busy that he failed to pay Redd’s feelings any real attention. He told Viceland: