Kanye West has, once again, spurred discussion this week after a tearful appearance at a South Carolina rally and after cryptic tweets addressing his family. Many people have been attributing Kanye’s unusual behavior for the past couple of years to his mental health. Some folks are even going as far as to blame his wife, Kim Kardashian-West for not tending to her husband. However, debates on Twitter reflect a more complex understanding of what led to this 2020 Kanye and it brings to question, who is really responsible for Mr. West?
Discussion about West’s mental health resurfaced when he held a rally in South Carolina on Sunday in support of his presidential campaign. During a speech, West reiterated his anti-abortion stance by saying his dad wanted to abort him, but his mother, Donda West, wouldn’t allow it. “My mom saved my life. My dad wanted to abort me. My mom saved my life, there would have been no Kanye West because my dad was too busy,” he said before crying.
He also said through tears hat he almost “killed” his daughter, making a connection to his now 7-year-old child, North West, and his anti-abortion views.
“Even if my wife wants to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world even when I didn’t want to,” Kanye said. “She stood up and she protected that child.”
While discussing slavery, West also told the South Carolina crowd, “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
The following day, West launched a series of tweets asking Kim and her mom, Kris Jenner, to contact him as he claimed they were trying to “lock me up.”
“Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughters life yesterday,” West wrote on Twitter. He also wrote, “Everybody knows the movie get out is about me.”
Kanye’s comments and behavior, once again, sparked concern on social media, with many believing that he wasn’t receiving the mental health care that he needed. Conversations about Kanye’s mental health have been bubbling since 2018 when he became pro-Donald Trump and spewed statements like slavery is a “choice” (he’s since denounced his allegiance to Trump and apologized for his “slavery is a choice” comments).
Discussion around Kanye’s mental health continued when he talked about having bipolar disorder with David Letterman in 2019. He discussed treatment and what it’s like when he has an “episode,” which is most likely a reference to the mania portion of bipolar disorder that can cause an elevated mood.
“When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything,” West said on the Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman”, according to People.
“Everyone — this is my experience, other people have different experiences — everyone now is an actor. 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.”
West also talked about being handcuffs and separated from his loved ones during treatment. “They have this moment where they put you — they handcuff you, they drug you, they put you on the bed, and they separate you from everyone you know,” West said. “That’s something that I am so happy that I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment.”
“When you are in that state, you have to have someone you trust. It is cruel and primitive to do that,” he continued.
“If you don’t take medication every day to keep you at a certain state, you have a potential to ramp up and it can take you to a point where you can even end up in the hospital. And you start acting erratic,” West told Letterman.
Although such a description can explain his behavior in South Carolina, some critics noted that it can also be true that Kanye has problematic politics and this shouldn’t be explained away by his bipolar disorder.
His anti-abortion views, for example, can be linked to his long history of shaming or trying to control the bodies of women. Back in 2015, for example, Kanye infamously slut shammed his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose when he told The Breakfast Club that he had to take “30 showers” after dating her, according to Page Six. West has also criticized his wife Kim Kardashian for “showing off her body” during her 2019 Met Gala appearance, according to People.
“I didn’t realize that that was affecting my soul and my spirit as someone who is married and the father of now… about to be four kids,” West told Kim during an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”.
“You are my wife and it affects me when pictures are too sexy,” he added.
West’s views about women can also be linked to his increasingly right-leaning Christian beliefs. West has always struggled between what’s Christian-like and what is not ever since his 2004 song “Jesus Walks”. But now it seems like he’s becoming more adamant about committing himself to God, which is proven by his Sunday Services and his “Jesus Is King” album in 2019. Although Christianity and the bible have undergone many interpretations, it’s quite possible Kanye is interpreting spirituality in a way that doesn’t consider the sexual and social independence of women.
All this history along with his bipolar disorder could play a part in Kanye’s current behavior, which would require a multipronged approach to address. Even attempts to blame Kim Kardashian for Kanye’s behavior fall short, considering reports that she’s been trying to get the rapper help for weeks.
So who’s responsible for Kanye West?
Ultimately, Kanye should probably be number one on the list.
However, social media is continuing the conversation with talks about mental health, Kim Kardashian, and the responsibility of family and friends. Check out what people had to say below.
Kanye being bipolar doesn’t excuse his spread of misinformation but it does mean how we engage and speak about him shouldn’t be ableist.— simi (@simimoonlight) July 19, 2020
Kanye is very ill. This is mania. I understand how frustrating this can be but this is truly what bipolar disorder can look like. It’s sad that he has no insight currently to get better. I hope he does find help and soon.— Doctor Imani (@doctor_imani) July 19, 2020
Why does Kanye’a bipolar disorder mania always involve him attacking Black women/disrespecting Black people who fought for his freedom. At his rally he hugged a vvhite woman for challenging him but disrespected and humiliated the only Black woman in the room doing the same thing? https://t.co/FAfLheRtJO— MissTeeOfficial (@MissTeeOfficial) July 20, 2020
Kanye West blatantly needs a level of care and support that he isn’t currently getting from the people in his life. The man is open about his struggles with having bipolar disorder. But, every time he goes through a period of mania, it gets turned into a meme or joke.— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) July 19, 2020
watching kanye talk is making ME manic. i do not want to be a part of this bipolar energy transfer. logging AWF— aida osman (@shutupaida) July 19, 2020
As trashy as I find The Kardashians to be, you can't blame them for who Kanye is.— Jenny (@IksonJenny) July 20, 2020
Today, he showed us who he is. For years, he's been showing us who he is. Bipolar or not, this assclown is who he is.
Accept it and move on from this hot mess.
I know everyone is flaming Kanye and the Kardashians rn, but dealing with a spouse that is mentally ill is extremely difficult- let alone with the entire world watching.— SUGAFREE™️ (@trixxxen) July 21, 2020
Idk about y’all, but my thoughts are with Kim & her kids right now
Neither Kim nor any of the Kardashians need to shoulder the blame for men's behavior. It's sexist and ridiculous. https://t.co/RyVHMQ5tY1— Ozzy Etomi (@ozzyetomi) July 21, 2020
No one is trying to blame the Kardashians for the way Kanye is behaving. But they’re supposed to be his “support system.” So when we ask where they are, we’re asking where is his support system (Kim)⁉️#KUWTK pic.twitter.com/yD4JgOlWSH— ❝Ｗｉｃｋｅｄ Ｌｉｔｔｌｅ Ｖｉｘｅ n❞ ♏ (@La_Bella_Amor) July 20, 2020
Wow. Way to make women responsible for a grown ass man. This is how misogyny works. I’m no Kim or Kriss fan, but giving them more heat for Kanye’s stupid behavior is full on misogyny. Rethink this.— WandaSpeaks67 (@WandaSpeaks67) July 19, 2020