R&B Singer Mario Addresses Mother's Addiction in New Video

By Paul Gaita 04/12/19

Mario hopes the video and song will provide support for those that may be experiencing a similar situation with a loved one.

R&B Singer Mario
Photo via instagram

Nearly two years after the death of his mother, who suffered from heroin dependency, singer and actor Mario touched on her struggle in the music video for his latest single, "Care for You."

The video, which features dramatized moments from his childhood and teenage years, also depicts his mother buying what is assumed to be drugs from a dealer while the young Mario waits in the car. 

In an interview with People magazine, Mario said that he hopes the video and song will provide support for those that may be experiencing a similar situation with a loved one. "Realize that your life is the most important thing to that person, because they don't know how to say it," he said. "Even in their choice, we have to love them through it."

Mario's mother, Shawntia Hardaway, passed away in 2017. While a cause of death was not given, her issues with heroin had been made public through the 2007 MTV documentary special I Won't Love You to Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom, which depicted his attempts to provide help for his mother with the assistance of family and friends.

After its airing, the singer, who most recently appeared in Fox TV's live production of Rent, launched the Mario Do Right Foundation, which provides education and support to children of addicted parents.

"Care for You" is the second single from Mario's 2018 album Dancing Shadows, which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. He told People that in addition to addressing the more painful aspects of his childhood, the song is "really about a man realizing that it's okay to feel, it's okay to be vulnerable."

"I think a lot of times in our lives, especially men who have gone through things and who have built this warrior shield around their heart, don't want to admit when they feel something or don't want to admit when they love someone," he explained.

With the opioid epidemic affecting nearly every demographic in the United States and claiming more than 130 lives every day, Mario understands that support for both the addict and the people around them is crucial.

"Addiction doesn't just affect the user, it affects the family," he said. "In some ways, you also feel like you're addicted because you're so close to it. You're immersed into the hope of them healing and choosing a brighter path."

And if a fan or even casual listener is going through the same tumult that Mario experienced, he hopes that they take the necessary steps to care for themselves as much as they care for the person with dependency in their lives.

"It's really important that you take time for yourself to heal and to un-blame yourself," he said. 

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.