Jay-Z Doesn’t Want You To Lose Hope

It’s not about optimism — it’s about seeing an opportunity in spite of the madness that surrounds us.

Joel Leon.
4 min readNov 6, 2020

Trigger Warning: This week’s column deals with suicide and suicidal ideations.

“A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson

Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin’” — Jay-Z, “Smile”

What a week, huh?!

I’m back with another edition of what I’m hoping is slowly becoming your favorite weekly fix, “What Would Hov Do?,” my Medium column where I sift through some of your daily struggles with the help of S Dot Carter. With the election essentially still up in the air, many of us are dealing with a mixed bag of emotions. And some of us may be struggling more than others.

This week, our anonymous reader is having a hard time dealing with everything happening around them. “I Love My Cat” writes:

“The only thing for years that ultimately stops me from committing suicide is the thought of my cat wondering where I am — is this enough purpose to be here? My life has been full of trauma, chiseled down with sharp tools, to that one thing — a cat who (seemingly) needs me. I think there’s a metaphor here. And no, I ain’t kidding. The sadness, the despair is real. I need another reason, preferably reasons, and I’ve looked everywhere, within and without. What would Jay-Z say about knowing when it’s time to give up?”

I’ve struggled with suicidal ideations from as early as elementary school. I’ve written at length about those struggles on LEVEL, a Medium publication for Black and Brown men. The world can feel like a lot, and sometimes that weight can feel like too much to bear. In those instances, hope, faith, and “staying the course” can sound like empty platitudes, pretty-sounding phrases that don’t address how we’re feeling and the despair that comes along with it. We genuinely feel hopeless in those moments, like there is nothing or no one to live for.

In Sharon Salzberg’s book, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World, a Buddhist…



Joel Leon.

he/him. @tedtalks giver. @EBONYmag / @medium writer. @frankwhiteco . creative. @taylorstrategy senior copywriter. @thecc_nyc 21’ class. @twloha board. #BRONX