Kim Fields is using her passion for storytelling to open a conversation about mental health in the Black community. The Living Single star may be best known for her role in front of the camera, but is showing off her skills as a director for BET Her's new short film, Baby Blue, which she hopes will diminish the stigma surrounding postpartum depression in communities of color. Ahead of the film's premiere Saturday, Fields opened up to PopCulture.com about the "extremely special" experience of directing Baby Blue.
Fields is no stranger to directing, having cultivated her skills behind the camera since 1994, but was honored to be asked to direct "such an important story" about a young mother experiencing postpartum depression that escalates into psychosis. "In the communities where we're not talking about [postpartum depression], we don't understand it," she explained, adding that in what feels like it should be such an exciting time in life, feelings of depression and anxiety can elicit guilt and shame.
"I think the most enlightening thing and revelatory thing for me was just how different the conversation is, or the existence of it is for women of color," she continued, adding that researching the resources available for women of different races was shocking. "I was very surprised at just how staggering of a difference the numbers are in terms of resources, in terms of assistance, and that sort of thing."
Looking into the resources available through organizations like Postpartum Support International, Fields said she was "enlightened" by the "nuances that come with mental health in terms of your race, or your culture, your background." The actress continued, "We can't ignore those things. Yes, just like there are nuances between genders, there are nuances between races and cultures."
Fields' film will be the first of four films for BET Her's Her Stories, the others being directed by Victoria Rowell of The Young and the Restless, Sheryl Lee Ralph of Moesha and Vanessa Bell Calloway of Coming to America, and addressing different "authentic stories that celebrate, inspire and support Black women narratives" as they relate to mental health. Fields said of being asked to be part of this group of filmmakers, "I was elated and honored quite honestly, to be asked to play in this playground, so to speak."
"These are my colleagues and my friends that I've known for decades," she continued. "And so to see all of us, number one, get our come-up as directors, and that respect is just fantastic that we would be tapped to tell these stories." Fields' Baby Blue and Rowell's Everything is Fine, collectively called The Couch, premieres this Saturday, July 25 at 9 p.m. ET.