Exclusive Interview With New York City Mayor Eric Adams Talks Health And Healing With BET.com

April 11, 2022

In his first one-on-one interview with BET.com, New York City Mayor Eric Adams addresses a variety of topics including mental health in young Black people.

Including the plan to reduce crime in NYC, Black women’s maternal health and infant mortality, as well as ways for Black entrepreneurs to recover in the wake of the pandemic.

Plus, find out why he considers himself a nightlife mayor.

To commemorate Mayor Adam’s first 100 days in office, BET.com’s Senior Editor, News Madison Gray shadowed the Mayor for a day and was one of the first reporters to sit down with Adams to discuss these and other specific issues that matter most to the African American community.

Watch the entire interview on Monday, April 11, 2022, on BET.com and read Gray’s photo essay on his day spent shadowing Mayor Adams.

Excerpts from the BET.com interview include:

Mayor Adams on intervention and prevention to reduce crime violence in Black and Brown communities in NYC:

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 “We must have what I call intervention and prevention. A lot of people are totally comfortable talking about prevention, which I am talking about. Thirty percent of our prisoners are dyslexic; let’s do dyslexia screening. Fifty-five percent have learning disabilities. Eighty percent of the inmates on Rikers Island don’t have a high school diploma or equivalency. So, let’s dig into the prevention. But we have to deal with intervention. Mrs. Jones is saying ‘What are you doing about these shootings right now on my block?’ … a mother doesn’t feel any differently if you’re going to say, ‘Mrs. Jones, your son was not shot by the police, he was shot by a gangbanger.’ That’s not condolence, that is not something that’s acceptable.”

Preview link here

Mayor Adams on infant mortality and Black Women’s Maternal Health:

 “The most important time for a woman is when she’s carrying a baby. That’s planting the seed. The first classroom is in a mother’s womb. The nutrition that the mother, when she consumes and eats, is going to be passed on to that baby. So, we have an unprecedented program here with doulas. You know, my son was born, no one gave me a manual saying, ‘Hey, this is how to be a dad!’ But a doula can actually help with maternal morbidity, identify the postpartum with some of the stress that mothers are going through, explain how that stress can be passed on to a child, and give them the support that they need during those difficult times. Were really zeroed in on that. Black women die at 12 times the rate of white women of maternal morbidity. That would be a crisis if the numbers were reversed. We are treating it as a crisis here in the city, and we’re going to give those mothers and fathers the support they deserve.”

Preview link here

Mayor Adams on Black Women entrepreneurs who still suffer from the economic fallout as a result of the pandemic:

Black women, their businesses were traumatized. We lost a substantial number of them and we need to do it on several levels. Number one, we need to stop being difficult to do business in the city. You almost have to be sadistic to open a business in the city by going through the bureaucracy. Number two, we need to do targeted, non-refundable grants to those businesses. Then, we really need to use over $20 billion in procurement for goods and services. We need to be specific and target those Black and Brown businesses so they can give us the supplies that we purchase every year in the city for goods and services and use that as an anchor. And then give the support, do the backroom work so they can focus on running their business.”

Preview link here

Mayor Adams on bringing mental health and healing to younger Black people:

We’re dealing with [the] diagnosed and undiagnosed, and many people will say automatically, ‘well, let’s have mental health professionals inside the schools.’ That is just one point of it. We have to really start giving young people the tools to deal with change and stress. COVID traumatized young people, so what does that look like?

When I retired from the police department, I was suffering from PTSD from all of that stress, and it compelled me to go into meditation. It compelled me to go to [do] breathing exercises. It compelled me to go beyond the traditional methods. So, having one child out of a classroom and giving them one-on-one interaction. No, we need to teach children the power of brain breaks, how the brain operates, how it deals with stress, what happens when you’re identifying stress, [and] having our children learn the operation of their bodies within a classroom setting. Doing it together as a group, they empower each other. You know what else they do? They go home and empower their families.”

Preview link here

Mayor Adams explains why he wears beaded bracelets:

When I ran for Mayor, I went to Oman and Jordan. I spent a few nights in the desert because I knew that sand was the same sand that Moses and Jesus walked on. We may have transitioned, but our trees, our sands, our rocks, our stones, they have not been anywhere. They don’t die and energies are in those items. And these stones came from…one was in Ghana when I went to the slave dungeons and saw the transitions of our people and the others came from India. So, inside these beads and stones is energy and energy is never destroyed. It only reforms itself.”

Preview link here

For more information on the exclusive interview, including exclusive excerpts, additional articles, photos, and more go to BET.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @BETNews.


BET, a subsidiary of Paramount Global, is the leading provider of premium entertainment, music, news, digital, and public affairs content for Black audiences worldwide.

BET linear is in 125 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, Brazil, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, and France.

BET is one of the most well-known Black consumer brands worldwide, with multi-platform business extensions including BET Studios, an unprecedented studio venture that offers equity ownership for Black content creators; BET+, the preeminent streaming service for the Black audience; BET Digital, including BET’s wide-reaching social platforms and BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s events and experience business; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

Photo credit: BET Screenshot.

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