The young man you see below, Nuçi Phillips, was 22 years old in 1996 when he killed himself after a long battle with depression, cutting short his budding career as a musician. Nuçi's family responded in the most admirable way possible: They created a place to help musicians like their son, before their lives were taken by mental illness.
As you can tell from this video, Nuçi's has become an anchor for the Athens music community — and the community at large. Nuçi's puts music at the very heart of its efforts to provide affordable care to people suffering from mental illnesses.
We have always told people that if you want to figure out what The Bitter Southerner is really all about, all you have to do is change one letter in the word "bitter." The I becomes an E, and the word becomes "better." That has always been our deepest hope — to build a community of people who want to make the South, our home region, a better place.
All of us at The Bitter Southerner came to know about Nuçi's work because many of our musician friends in Athens support that work. Back in the summer, when we began planning our recent feature on the Drive-By Truckers and one of its co-founders, Patterson Hood, we thought that by teaming up with DBT, The Bitter Southerner could raise a little money for Nuçi's. And that's how this T-shirt was born — with the help of the entire DBT organization.
What we didn't expect was The Bitter Southerner Family's amazing response. It now appears that, as we continue to sell these T-shirts through their final day of availability — December 31 — we have the opportunity raise a lot of money for Nuçi's. At least $10 from every shirt sold will go straight to Nuçi's Space.
So we're asking everybody in The Bitter Southerner Family to encourage others to buy the DBT/OBS T-shirt. This is one small way in which our big community of Southerners can bring real change and real help to one of the South's vital communities.
In one community we serve, Nuçi's is making the South a better place. Thank you for helping us help them.