Over the course of his career, Kanye West has been responsible for some of history’s biggest media circuses. The last few months, in particular, have seen the 42-year-old rapper become a spectacle in more ways than one.
From the promise of a new album to a last-minute run for presidency and a series of concerning social media posts, Kanye West has left the world feeling confused. Is West just taking advantage of the spotlight or is the artist’s hysteria a sign of real mental health issues?
Is Kanye West a meme-worthy narcissist or do recent events signify something much darker? And what role do we play in enabling Kanye’s downward spiral?
To really understand what is going on with Kanye West right now, it makes sense to give a little context. West is certainly no stranger to utilising the media to build hype around his name. With the power to easily create viral headlines, why not use media coverage, both positive and negative, to advertise a new endeavour?
This has been the case for a huge number of solo releases and collaborations for Kanye, as well as his iconic Yeezy brand. So earlier this year, when West announced that his upcoming album would be out in July, many fans suspected that a wild display of the artist was soon to follow.
While West had once toyed with the idea of being president, hinting at a 2024 run, the world was stunned when the rapper posted a tweet announcing his intentions of running in the 2020 US presidential election. Despite it being seemingly too late for West to make much progress, the artist quickly got involved, declaring a number of bizarre policies in an interview with Forbes.
West soon revealed his anti-vaccine and pro-life views, stating that under his leadership, the US would run like the Black Panther’s fictional country, Wakanda.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that West’s outlandish policies and erratic behaviour are laughable and like with all current affairs, it seems that the only way to respond is with an onslaught of West-related memes.
However, as Kanye’s behaviour continued to spiral, many are left wondering whether the artist might actually need professional help.
At West’s first presidential rally, he exploded in tears, exclaiming that he almost killed his daughter in a crazed anti-abortion rant. Then, West posted a slew of concerning tweets that, among seemingly random words, claimed that his wife Kim Kardashian-West and mother-in-law Kris Jenner tried to lock him up. On top of this, he claimed that the 2017 horror film Get Out is about his life.
Saying “Get Out is based on me” is not sane. This isn’t him being sane. I won’t leave mental illness out of it as it played a part in what he was posting. He needs help.
— Brock Henderson (@popBrocks) July 21, 2020
Kanye West’s struggle with bipolar disorder has been highly publicised over recent years, especially after Kim Kardashian’s tell-all interview with Forbes where she discussed her experiences with Kanye.
The socialite stated that while it was hard to accept her husband’s diagnosis, they are getting better and dealing with it as a family. She also revealed that Kanye refuses to take medication for his mental health on account that they “change who he is”.
West’s recent behaviour has also caused a number of other artists to speak up on behalf of his mental health. Halsey took to Twitter to urge fans to stop vilifying those with mental issues: “Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode isn’t a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence.”
No jokes right now. I have dedicated my career to offering education and insight about bipolar disorder and I’m so disturbed by what I’m seeing. Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode isnt a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence.
— h (@halsey) July 21, 2020
Kanye West’s cycle of narcissistic behaviour and self-promotion has descended into a new level of danger and destruction, and it is clear that the artist might be suffering from a manic episode.
However, it appears as though the response of fans and spectators is causing him to fall deeper down the hole. Right now, West likely needs help.
While the celebrity life is usually a choice people make for themselves, we never intend on having our downfalls commemorated with public mockery. As the Kanye fiasco continues to unfold right before our eyes, maybe it’s time to adopt some sensitivity.
If one thing is certain, mental health issues do not discriminate and will find a way to haunt people regardless of their fame, fortune, and power. Rather than enabling the demise of Kanye West, one of the world’s greatest artists, silence may be the key to his safety. But as Kanye continues to publicise his own undoing, how will the world stay quiet?