When the rapper Guvna B lost his father, the ramifications were substantial. In Unspoken, the 31-year-old explores his own unique experience of grief, and the expectations put on him as the eldest child.
These expectations – which included toxic concepts of masculinity – and the culture in which he lived meant he was initially unable to process his grief.
Unspoken is an apt title, as the book explores how many men suppress their emotions and hide their pain, and the associated cultural pressures surrounding how a man should behave. It reminds us of just how important it is to name our trauma out loud for our healing.
The tale is told with the undercurrents of Guvna B’s own musical and creative journey, gang culture and Christian faith. His lyrics, text from Instagram posts and letters written in the midst of this journey, which capture the intensity of the challenges he faced, are interspersed throughout the book. This adds a sense of intimacy to the story.
Unspoken challenges us all – men in particular – to speak about our grief rather than keep it hidden, and shows us how we can learn to navigate the storms of life while still trusting in God.