‘Mathis Family Matters’ is about Black resiliency

HOLLYWOOD (News4usonline) – The highlight of the first episode of E! Entertainment’s new show “Mathis Family Matters” features the struggles of Greg Mathis Jr. Mathis, the namesake of his father, Judge Greg Mathis, is gay.

He does not know how or if it is the right thing to stop living in the shadows of his famous father, come out of the closet, and announce to the world who he is.

Left to right: Greg Mathis Jr., Jade Mathis, Camara Mathis Webb, and Amir Webb attend the premiere party of “Mathis Family Matters” at Casita Hollywood on June 17, 2022. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The beauty in confronting this dilemma is that the younger Mathis is able to talk about his battles with his dad. With encouragement and unwavering support from his father, the junior Mathis is able to free himself from the chains of having to live by other people’s standards and be himself.

But it was a little nerve-wracking for the son considering that the initial episode serves as his coming out party.         

“It’s a really vulnerable experience just opening up your life to the world,” Greg Mathis Jr. said. “It’s not like you’re acting or doing anything. People are going to see this reflection of you on TV and, you know, they’re going to say this is who you are as a person. So you’re opening yourself up to that critique.”

The younger Mathis then dropped his bombshell.

“And then the added layer for me is I wasn’t out as a gay man before we started filming the show,” remarked Greg. “And so I knew going into this process I was going to have to come out to the world and it was very vulnerable doing that on camera and then knowing the whole world was going to see this. You’ll see a lot of that on the show as well, which I hope is a difference in people’s lives, people who might be, you know, afraid to come out themselves or struggling with their sexuality. I really hope that it can make a difference in their lives also.”

While he said that he is getting more comfortable with being out of the closet about his sexuality, Greg admitted that there was a time when he tried to avoid letting people know altogether that he was the son of Judge Mathis.

“It’s funny because when I first started working in politics in [Washington] D.C., I was like shying away from his name,” Greg Jr. said. “I wouldn’t tell people. I would say, ‘My name is Greg.’ I never tell them if I was applying for jobs because I always wanted to prove that I was doing this on my own. I never wanted people to think that I was getting something because of him. But as I grew, I started to realize that I have the best mentor that anybody in the world could ask for. Really, it’s just a blessing to be able to have him more than it is pressure.”

Greg, like the rest of his family, as well as a host of friends and well-wishers, came out to Casita Hollywood on June 17 for the premiere party of “Mathis Family Matters.” Among the many attendees at the event include longtime actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, Javicia Leslie (Batwoman on the CW), Porscha Coleman, and television personality Shaun Robinson.

Linda Mathis (left) with television personality Shaun Robinson on the carpet at the premiere screening of “Mathis Family Matters” at Casita Hollywood on June 17, 2022. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

Judge Mathis, his wife, Linda Mathis, as well as children Amir Mathis, Jade Mathis, and Camara Mathis Webb, all walked down the carpet posing for photos and stopping to chop it up with reporters to talk about the show. By profession, Jade is an attorney. So when the proposal for the show came up, she admitted she was leery about doing the project.     

“I did not think this was actually going to happen to be real,” Jade said. “I was a prosecutor in the courtroom at the time. I was active in my church ministry, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’m here. I’ll entertain your cute little dream, and I’ll come back home and go back to court.’ And then when he said we actually got the callback I was like, ‘Wait. This is real? Oh, no!’ I did not think it was going to happen. I was the most hesitant to sign up. I was probably the last person to come on board.”  

Now that she is aboard the “Mathis Family Matters” train, Jade sees her participation in the show as a chance to help people navigate through mental health issues. You see, beyond the tough exterior as a well-seasoned lawyer, underneath her strikingly layered beauty and behind her engaging smile, is a woman who has battled her own mental health demons.

The airing of “Mathis Family Matters” now gives Jade a wider platform to talk about mental health, she said.

“I’m a mental health advocate and I always talk about my mental health journey in the Black community and how it is stigmatized,” quipped Jade. “This is my opportunity to have a national platform and let the world see that you can have a mental health diagnosis, but you can still be professional, you can still look good, you can still act good. You can still do it all and that’s okay.”  

Jade Mathis lends her voice to mental illness on “Mathis Family Matters” as she talks about her struggles with clinical depression and being diagnosed with (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) ADHD. Mathis attends the premiere screening of “Mathis Family Matters” at Casita Hollywood on June 17, 2022. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

While she was in college, Jade’s mental health struggle wasn’t limited to just one thing. She was diagnosed with critical depression and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). She also suffered from a learning disorder, all of which contributed to her struggles to graduate from law school and failing the bar exam multiple times. She even had a cancer scare in the middle of all that. 

Jade credits her unyielding determination to get past those obstacles. She plans on helping others do the same through the “Mathis Family Matters” vehicle.  

“I just remained resilient. I refused to give up,” said Jade. “So I think that’s something that America can use. It’s a story of resiliency.”    

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