I must admit when I first heard about Kanye West’s recent onstage rants I was thinking to myself, “Here he goes again. He’s talking about all sorts of crazy stuff without really thinking it through.” After all, he has a history of going on very long rants about a variety of topics. On top of the rants lately, he was ending his concerts after only performing 2 or 3 songs. Many people didn’t care for what he had to say.
Next, he cancelled the rest of his concert tour. Fans were disappointed and outraged even though they would get refunds. I thought it was such a selfish thing to do if he was just not in the mood to perform. So many people are now out of a job: the musicians, the security guards, sound engineers, concessions workers, etc.
However, once the news hit that he had been hospitalized indefinitely, I realized I should have recognized there was a mental health issue at hand. There have been some reports that he’s struggling with depression and paranoia. As of this posting, there has not been an official diagnosis announced but it is clear Kanye is dealing with an illness that can’t just be dismissed as “crazy” talk and simply “exhaustion.” Instead of judgment, I now feel compassion and concern for him.
You may be thinking ,”Who cares? He’s rich and famous. He’ll get over it.” The thing about mental health issues is that it affects people of all classes, race, age and gender. It is so easy to judge celebrities when you don’t know them. I confess that felt a certain way about Kanye and his wife, Kim Kardashian, prior to their marriage. All that started to change though, when I discovered we shared some mutual friends. They weren’t just a tabloid article, soundbite or Instagram photo anymore. They were human just like me. I struggled with depression and if that’s indeed one of the things Kanye is struggling with, that’s something else we may share.
When celebrities do or say “crazy” things and have a pattern of doing them, there may be something else going on besides someone being an egomaniac. Maybe you know someone in your life that has exhibited “crazy” behavior. There may be some mental health issues that need to be considered. We need to start caring for people before they get to the point of needing to be hospitalized. We need to offer them help, not ridicule and scorn. I pray for Kanye West’s recovery and treatment during this time for his sake and the sake of his family.