The thing is, the Kardashian-Wests make it very easy to scoff or outright laugh at their shenanigans. I have done it myself. I have rolled my eyes, scrolled past their posts without stopping to read, wonder why I still ‘follow’ them and weighed-in on a conversation or three about their most-recent foolishness. I have done so because I felt/feel that their decision to live their lives out loud entitles me to have an equally loud opinion, whether it’s that they do make some cute babies, that that North is a brat, marveling that she really is becoming a lawyer now, that her ass is absolutely ridiculous and my favorite bone to gnaw on… in all of Hollywood, she and Kanye might just be the ones to stay together. So yes, I talk about them. I am about to do so again. Let’s address this…
Even as I allow myself the freedom to dismiss the Kardashian-clan as a whole, I tend to always take a softer approach when it comes to Kanye. Now, this is not born out of any personal love for the man nor admiration for his talent or reputed genius. And, it most certainly is not any form of celebrity-worship (my disdain for that kind of arbitrary love is well documented). Simply, when it comes to Kanye, my treading lightly is out of concern for and recognition of a mental disease or disorder.
Listen. Much has been said about Kanye’s supposed-run for President. And, much should be said about it. It is disruptive, divisive, damaging and delusional. It is demonstrative of how far we have slipped as a country. And, it is demonstrative of how far he has slipped from being mentally healthy. It is delusional. Not in a fucking-DonaldTrump-kinda-delusional-way (although he could also benefit from diagnosis and treatment), but in the manic manner that is indicative of ill-health.
I have heard, over the years, how brilliant of a lyricist Kanye is. The word “genius” has been used often in association with him. In the (literally) two songs I have heard of his, I will tend to agree… the man is lyrically brilliant. When his everyday bizarre behavior becomes news-worthy however, I cannot help but wonder if, as it often is for many so-called geniuses, it is not part and parcel with his creative acumen. But, there are no letters after my name (yet) that allow me to diagnose the man, so, I will refrain from officially doing so. What I will say is this: while we look on and scratch our heads at what seems to be his latest bit of foolery, while we curse his audacity and chuckle at his display of ridiculousness, while we fall to our knees and beg God to rescue us from the madness that is 2020 and while we shake our head at how far removed we find him from the black experience, let us also find compassion for him… because if all of these findings and displays are true, something in him is wrong.
Kim Kardashian-West spoke out about her husband today. It garnered my respect. The role of a loved one who finds themselves, against their will, embroiled in the emotional tailspin that is mental disease or addiction is an extremely difficult one to navigate. There is a constant tug-of-war between being loving, supportive, understanding, enabling, disappointed, fed up and angry. Balancing love and tough love is tricky. Recognizing one’s impotence in encouraging or forcing the seeking of help is frustrating. Understanding that oftentimes the family and loved ones of someone with a mental disease or disorder or someone in the throes of addiction become victimized by their behavior is something we should have empathy for.
Listen. We do not need another inept person seeking a prominent leadership role in this country. Agreed. Kanye was/is never a threat to that (and quite frankly, if he were to be, it says more about us/yall than it does about him!). So, let’s not focus on what can be perceived as the joke that is Kanye’s latest antics, and instead focus on the prevalence of (unaddressed and untreated) mental disease in this country. No. We do not need to indulge his outbursts or allow him free reign to behave, unchecked, in any manner that is detrimental to his or our wellbeing. But, let’s not laugh. He is not stupid. He is sick. He needs help. Many of us do. Many of us are scared and scarred. Sadly, many of us will fall through the cracks unattended and untreated either because of our own denial, ill-fated enabling and generations of societal disdain for illnesses of the mind. The great news regarding Kanye however, is that, because of his access and platform, we can see him. If we pay attention to the man, we can recognize the mania. If we recognize the mania, we can disregard the message. Once we disregard the message, we can address the mental.
Kanye, “Imma let you finish…” but then Sir, I pray you are able to get the help you deserve.