Almost a year after Juice WRLD’s sudden death at the age of 21, his mom is opening up about her late son’s struggles and how they might help others who are feeling the same way.
“It was devastating,” Carmela Wallace told ABC 7 Chicago on Monday (Oct. 26). “But, one thing I decided early on was that I was not going to hide the fact that he died from a drug overdose. I did not want to keep that a secret because there are a lot of people who deal with that every day.”
While the rapper, born Jarad Higgins, was a Billboard chart topper and a global superstar, Wallace recalled that he was always just her son to her. “Juice WRLD was an icon, but Jarad was my son. I didn’t treat him like a celebrity,” she recalled. “In fact, the first time I saw him perform, it was in Chicago, I forget where, but I saw the crowd and I saw the girls and ‘Take a selfie with me.’ He was poked up and he was still living with me at the time. When he came home, I said, ‘Take out the garbage,’ because I just wanted him to stay humble.”
Wallace also noted how close she was with Juice, even about his addiction. The rapper died in December 2019 due to an accidental overdose.
“I said, ‘If you have anxiety, then you need to get medicated properly for it instead of medicating yourself,’” she explained. “I talked to him about it. I told him my biggest fear was him overdosing on the stuff. That’s why I made the decision I have to talk about it with other people. I can’t keep that as a secret.”
As a result, the loving mother is continuing Juice WRLD’s legacy with the Live Free 999 Foundation, which aims to help young people struggling with mental health issues and addiction. “That’s our objective with our foundation. Normalize the conversation, so it has to start with me,” she said. “I hope it’s what he wanted, was a legacy of healing. To let people know that you don’t have to suffer alone.”
Watch the interview below.