Photo credit: Minista Jazz
Minista Jazz, Mike, Coach D of the "Minista and Coach D Podcast LIVE @ Much Different."

Minista Jazz and Coach D, the hosts of “Minista and Coach Podcast LIVE @ Much Different,” launched their one-of-a-kind show about mental health on Monday — or, as they call it, “Much Different Monday.”

Everybody has a brain. Everyone has a mind,” Coach D told QNS, reciting the show’s first message.

“Mental health is an everybody issue, it’s not about those that have a mental illness; it’s about all of us that have a brain and a mind,” Jazz said, explaining even further the meaning behind Coach D’s words.

Monday’s live recording session took place in an intimate, dimly lit space in Ridgewood’s H0L0 venue at 1090 Wyckoff Ave.

Jazz and Coach D sat on their couches in a ‘90s-throwback set comprised of a framed image of a cassette tape, a Rubik’s cube on top of stacked VHS tapes of movies like “The Lion King” and “The Mask,” and background music of classic Hip Hop tunes.

The duo gave the audience a sense of who they are by talking about their day and the public figures who have impacted them, such as Oprah Winfrey, Pat Summitt and Maya Angelou. They also shared the stage with Lil Xtra, a rapper with a compelling story about using music to help him deal with the tragic loss of his baby niece, and Bridget Barkan, a musical healer.

Throughout the night, Jazz and Coach D also invited the audience to participate in some of the practices that they’ve cultivated such as breathing exercises and a way to check in on themselves and those around them called “What’s your temp?”

“There’s a scale, and the scale goes from one to 10,” Jazz explained. “One is amazing, like nothing is wrong in the world, at all, everything is perfect. And then 10 is for when you’re feeling like —”

“Like you need Jesus, Buddha, Allah, all of them,” Coach D said, finishing Jazz’s train of thought.

Jazz and Coach D are both certified in Mental Health First Aid, which is part of the city’s ThriveNYC initiative to train 250,000 New Yorkers in what they call “CPR for mental health.”

Jazz shared that thanks to the certification process, she learned that depression and anxiety are the number one diagnosed mental illnesses in America. But, according to Coach D, an important aspect of the issue is that many people don’t even get diagnosed or are aware of their condition.

“In specific communities, it’s even further under-reported,” Jazz said. “In the LGBTQIA+, under-reported. In the black community, under-reported. In the brown community, under-reported severely. There’s tons of stigma.”

According to Jazz and Coach D, who are both Brooklyn natives, there is a direct connection with “what happens around us and within us.”

This is why their podcast — which also offers commentary about pop culture, sports and the news — is “culturally synchronistic.”

“What we mean when we say a ‘culturally synchronistic’ approach, we [mean that we] want to be able to talk about mental health so that [it will] encourage people to speak up about it so people who they know can hear them,” Jazz said. 

Jazz believes that through the authentic entertainment (or “edutainment,” as she calls it) on the “Much Different” podcast, people will be able to heal and come to terms with who they are.

Although she’s worked in the world of hairstyling, education and politics, Jazz feels that she can do more for the community by amplifying their voices through entertainment.

“Because it’s not that people need to be fixed, it’s just that they need to know that they’re not alone,” she said.

Coach D, on the other hand, is new to the radio and podcast world.

The full-time basketball coach and trainer created the 100 Coaches Certified initiative based on ThriveNYC’s mental health certifications, so that she can teach fellow coaches and athletes the importance of the issue even in the sports industry.

She has certified about 50 coaches so far, and is teaching two more free classes on Nov. 16 and Dec. 14. More information can be found on her Instagram page @GetFitFlyRight.

“I want to train my community,” Coach D said. “I’m from Brownsville. I’m from the projects — mental health doesn’t look like me. I want to be able to equip my people, as well as myself, about how to be in a mental space that doesn’t keep you in constant fear, worry, anxiety or depression.”

You can listen to “Minista and Coach Podcast LIVE @ Much Different” on their website WeAreMuchDifferent.com/Podcast, and follow them on Instagram @WeAreMuchDifferent for more information about their next “Much Different Monday.”

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