Video footage and photos of actress Maia Campbell has been floating in and out of the media for the last few years.


The 40-year-old made a name for herself in Hollywood as a promising young actress and model. She’s best known for her roles in the Fox series South Central and UPN’s In The House. She was definitely a rising star in the 90’s and had the potential to take her act to the big screen. So how did this beautiful, talented, promising starlet, who once attended the prestigious Spelman College fall from grace?


So often, celebrities and entertainers are given these superhuman attributes as if they are living in a different world from us. We think, they signed up to be in the public eye, therefore they must deal with everything that comes with it without complaint. They become our entertainment puppets. We don’t really care about their wellbeing, we only care about how entertaining they are. As long as they are feeding our weird obsession with experiencing fame vicariously through them, we are fans and they have our support. As soon as they fall, we scatter. We throw salt on their wounds and move on to the next trending rapper, model, actress, and socialite.


Campbell isn’t the first celebrity to “fall off”, nor is she the first person to be an addict, or have a mental disorder.  However, because of her encounter with fame, she gets to have her lows on display for the whole world to see. It’s heartbreaking.


Maia Campbell is our mothers, sisters, aunties, cousins, and friends. She is a representation of the depression, addictions, and mental illnesses so many black families try to ignore and keep hidden.


She is what happens when we, the community, fail. We threw her away and forgot about her. She isn’t gracing the covers of the hottest magazines of today, she isn’t starring in this year’s box office hits, she’s not walking the runways in the latest luxury brands of this season, she’s on the streets.


She’s being filmed, photographed, and passed around like a circus freak. The shares, the likes, the comments, everyone have their opinions on her current circumstances but where were you before the repost?


When a celebrity is no longer protected by their fame, they become “has beens” and “used to bes”. No one cares about where they are now until they show up dead. Then everyone mourns and reminisce about the time they were at the peak of their success. They join the Hall of Fame of those who “fell from grace”, but somehow redeemed themselves through their demise (see Whitney Houston, Prodigy, Michael Jackson, etc.)


Well, Maia Campbell is still alive. She’s still here. She doesn’t need our judgements, we have given her that her whole career. She’s not auditioning for a lead role. She’s not selling us a lifestyle or product. She needs our love. She needs our respect. She needs our understanding. She needs our support. She needs our compassion. Can we give her that?