The Media owes Kanye West an apology.
Written by Zara Hussain.
Whether intentional or not, the media tends to villainise celebrities who suffer with mental health conditions. As you can imagine, Kanye West is struggling with his divorce, yet the media paints him as ‘psychotic and ‘unhinged’. Is this a safe way to be talking about someone with bipolar disorder?
“Crazy is a word that’s not gonna be used loosely in the future. Understand that this is actually a condition that people can end up in, be born into, driven into and go in and out.”
These words came directly from West, in an interview with Forbes. He opened up about his personal struggles with his disorder yet to this day, people continue to label him as ‘crazy’. With the separation between the rapper and his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian being so public, so were Kanye’s actions. Media outlets continuously use detrimental language towards West, when discussing his behaviour. Whether they agree with his actions or not, this is unprofessional and hurtful towards not only Kanye, but those with bipolar disorder.
Now known as Ye, the artist has created a successful life for himself. People consistently refer to him as one of the best in the hip-hop/rap genre. Whether you love or hate him, he has built himself an empire and is one of the richest black men in America, with a net worth of around $1.8 billion. West is not a stranger to the limelight; he and Kardashian had the majority of their relationship seen by the public eye. Their divorce is no different. Such a private matter is being manipulated and broadcasted.
An already sensitive matter is at hand, but when every aspect of your divorce is spread across social media, you begin to break. Someone who suffers with bipolarism may find this harder to manage than most. Kanye West’s mental health has always been a prominent matter in the number of scandals and controversies that surround him. Many are aware of the struggles he faces but there isn’t much clarity to the situation. Whether it be explosive outbursts or twitter rampages, Kanye’s actions have upset several people. The amount of worrying social media posts and public appearances is likely to be the result of a condition that the rapper suffers with – bipolar disorder. West and his acquaintances have spoken out about his mental health on occasion. Kim Kardashian explained ‘Kanye has bipolar disorder…’ and asked fans for ‘compassion and empathy’ towards her ex-husband.
What Is Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition causing changes to your temperament, for example drastic mood swings. Those who suffer with this diagnosis may have depressive episodes of periods of mania. Within mania, you may also experience psychosis or paranoia, where your brain allows you to see or hear things that do not exist.
Primary symptoms of bipolar disorder/mania include:
- Low energy
- Loss of interest
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Rapid speech
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Expansive mood
- Harmful or risky behaviour
- Paranoia or delusional episodes
- Excessive spending
The treatment for bipolarism could include: mood stabilisers to prevent mania or depression, talking therapy and medication to treat depression or manic symptoms. According to the NHS, 1 in 100 people will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Ye’s Bipolar Controversy.
Through the last few years, Ye has been seen as a controversial figure. His actions have divided the public between those who disapprove of his antics and those who respect his truth. I believe if people were educated on his condition, they would understand his scandals without passing judgement or labelling him as ‘insane’. I have seen countless headlines that describe West as ‘psychotic’ or ‘ridiculous’. This is a clear example of the insensitive approach many have when speaking about someone with a mental health condition.
Let’s discuss some of Kanye’s actions that many criticised and how they may link to bipolar disorder.
On Thanksgiving 2021, West posted a short prayer on Instagram that addressed his mental health, failed relationship and more. “All I think about every day is how to get my family back together and how I heal the pain that I’ve caused,” he confessed before taking “accountability” for his actions that worsened their marriage. Kim continued to date Pete Davidson. Kanye was obviously heartbroken by the divorce and has since shown strange behaviour towards Kim and her new partner
- After Christmas, the Daily Mailstated that Ye had bought a $4.5 million home across the street from Kardashian and their children.
- Despite his new relationship with Julia Fox, the 22-time Grammy star shaded Pete Davidson in a track called Eazy, “God saved me from that crash/just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s ass,” referencing his traumatic car accident from 2002.
- In January he attended the birthday party of his daughter Chicago yet claimed he wasn’t invited and had to ask fellow rapper, Travis Scott, for the address. Kim however denied this, “that’s not true and as soon as he asked to come, he was given the location,” a source told the Us Weekly.
- In an interview with Hollywood Unlocked, he said Kim prohibited him from entering her house to visit their children.
- West also started removing people from his life, for being friends with Pete Davidson. He spoke out about his long-time friend, Kid Cudi, and how he longer associates with him. “JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS CUDI WILL NOT BE ON DONDA BECAUSE HE’S FRIENDS WITH YOU KNOW WHO,” He also posted but quickly deleted a photo of Kid Cudi’s 2019 birthday dinner with Pete’s face crossed out.
- In September 2009, Kanye stepped on stage whilst Taylor Swift was accepting an award for ‘Best Female Video’. He grabbed the microphone from Swift and stated how Beyonce should have won the award as her video was, “one of the best videos of all time”. He was removed from the remainder of the show.
- West allegedly spread rumours that his ex-wife’s new boyfriend Pete Davidson has AIDS. According to TMZ, ‘Kanye’s been telling everybody within earshot.’
- Kanye was spotted in Los Angeles, alongside a Kim Kardashian lookalike, Chaney Jones. He wore his signature full face mask whilst Chaney, followed him, wearing clothes that accented her Kardashian-esque body.
- In 2014, after a dispute with paparazzi, West was sentenced to serve two years’ probation for misdemeanor battery conviction. He had to go to 24 anger management sessions, complete 250 hours of community service, and pay compensation to the photographer.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Kanye’s erratic behaviour can be seen as the effect bipolar disorder has on his life. The risky behaviour and intense emotional states are just a couple of the issues people with this condition face, therefore the fame may create unhealthier situations.
“When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything…. Everything’s a conspiracy. You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel all these things.”
Dr. Lloyd Sederer, a chief medical officer in the NY State Office of Mental Health told The Post that ‘the death of a loved one’ can cause these difficult behaviours. Many link the factors such as West’s mother’s death to his actions. Sources close to the rapper also suggested how his overworking tendencies can get to the best of him. He is said to be seen, ‘doing many activities at once and scheduling more events in a day than can be accomplished.’ This circles back to when Kanye cancelled the remainder of his 2016 tour due to exhaustion. He ended up hospitalised and it is seen to be due to his overworking.
Most of Kanye’s conducts can refer to his diagnosis of bipolarism. Ye himself acknowledged his manic episodes where he suffers from racing thoughts, sleep loss, irritability and psychosis.
The 22-time Grammy Award winner’s diagnosis of bipolarism explains why he may act in certain ways, lash out on social media, or overwork himself however his more recent actions have been seen as worrying. He seems to specifically focus on his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, Pete Davidson. His new music video showed Davidson kidnapped, decapitated and buried alive by the rapper which sparked concern amongst fans. Many feel worried about the safety of both Pete and Kim due to Kanye’s newfound interest in attacking Pete Davidson.
Despite the severity of the situation, this is no excuse for calling Kanye ‘deranged’ or ‘unhinged’. People with bipolarism may struggle with big changes, such as a separation and with the media promoting West as the villain, he may feel inclined to pursue this. As he is branded as ‘crazy’, his actions may worsen. As privacy is destroyed, West seems to be exhibiting signs of a manic episode where his behaviour could be explained. Not justified but explained.
When people are uninformed about mental illness, they may unconsciously aggravate circumstances. With tabloids taking this matter out of hand, it continues to develop the stigma around mental health. When someone openly discusses their battle with mental health and is publicly struggling, why do we tear them down?
While I may not agree with all that Kanye may do or say, I believe it is important to spread awareness for the condition that causes Ye to be so misunderstood. Not even the most famous people deserve to feel so misconstrued.
Kanye West is going through a difficult period in his life, shouldn’t we be careful about the way we talk about him?
-Brad Barket (1st Image)
-Kevin Mazur (2nd Image)
-Frazer Harrison (3rd Image)
-SHVETS Production on Pexels – Lead Image.