Jay-Z Pays Tribute To Chester Bennington And Opens Up About Mental Health Awareness

“Especially for a performer like that, you just start numbing yourself.”

by Lisa Eppich

Jay-Z paid a powerful tribute to his late friend Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on Friday during a performance and interview for BBC Live Lounge. Sitting down with BBC Radio 1's Clara Amfo, the rapper opened up about the importance of mental health awareness and how much of a problem it can be for people in the public eye. Bennington, who died July 20, produced and releasing six mashup tracks with Jay-Z for the album Collision Course in 2004.

Jay-Z opened his appearance by performing the Grammy-award winning mashup "Numb/Encore," which fuses together Linkin Park's most famous song with a song about Jay-Z's career and speculation about his retirement from rapping at the time. Before beginning, the rapper dedicated the song to Chester and seemed quite emotional as he stood on the pared-down stage. With Amfo, he spoke about the impact Bennington's death had on him and his hopes that it serves as a wake-up call for more people—especially men—to not be ashamed to take care of themselves mentally.

Jay-Z said, "Mental health is a real thing. You never know what people are going through and you think that because they’re performers and he’s sold millions of records… that doesn’t equate to happiness." Jay-Z goes on to explain that sometimes as a performer, you just don't take the time to stop and care for yourself. He said, "A lot of people, we don’t deal with what’s happening to us, we just keep going. Especially for a performer like that, you just start numbing yourself. You become numb. He’s singing it, he’s telling you become numb. Hopefully his death wakes a lot of people up and a lot of people start taking care of themselves. Men, we have this bravado, we have to armor up. Nah man, you have to take care of yourself—physically and spiritually."

This wasn't the first time Jay-Z honored Bennington. Back in August, he performed "Numb/Encore" at the Virgin V Festival in the UK. Bennington's wife Talinda was deeply moved by this and other tributes, tweeting, "As the painful days go by, I am humbled by the endless love that we have received &am beyond moved by the endless global heartfelt tributes." 

Check out Jay-Z's performance and interview below.