“When It All Falls Down”: Kanye West and Moving toward Black Mental Health

November 17th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


After several months of sucessfully staying out of the public eye, Kanye West has made his way back into the critcial gaze of the media through a host of interviews, tv apperances, and of course, his tweets, to promote his newest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, scheduled to drop on November 22nd. Since Kanye (so brilliantly) decided to open a twitter account a few months ago and let the world share in his randomness, I have been following him very closely and things have gotten to the point where I just have to say something (briefly…lol).

Earlier this month, he held the now infamous interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show to address some of his past “mistakes” including his statements on national television in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, perhaps, most memorable “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” Peep the videos:

Throwback to 2005: 

and The Today Show:

After filming the interview at The Today Show, Kanye took to venting on his twitter page stating:

“I don’t mess with Matt Lauer or The Today Show and that is a very nice way for me to put it”

“He tried to force my answers. It was very brutal and I came there with only positive intent”

“I feel very alone very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused”

“I can’t be everybody’s hero and villain savior and sinner Christ and Anti-Christ!”

“Everything sounds like noise!!!!!!!!! EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE NOISE!!!!! I don’t trust anyone!!!!!!”

*Sigh* Oh, Kanye.

Kanye has never really been one of my favorite artists. Since the release of his first album, College Dropout, I’ve had a sort of love/hate with him. The first time I sat and listened to College Dropout in its entirety, I was blown away. The dude was undeniably talented, and even though I’m not a huuuge fan of hip hop, each track drew me in. And then, he released “Jesus Walks” as a single and his arrogance in presentation completely turned me off; his lack of humility was just too ironic. From that point on, I had the urge to roll my eyes whenever he opened his mouth, and kind of hated that I still had (and succumbed to) the urge to buy his albums. Proving, at least for me, that even though his ego and strong personality may rub you the wrong way, one cannot ignore his overwhelming talent.

Although I don’t think The Today Show did anything out of the ordinary in their interview with Kanye, I can understand his frustration. The media does manipulate situations and interviews in order to make them more interesting. It’s very rare that one is just given an open platform to say what’s on one’s mind without some sort of prompting, especially if one is a controversial figure addressing a controversial issue. But, I think what this and his other recent interviews and appearances may show is that Kanye’s erratic behavior isn’t just fueled by arrogance or an inability to hold a good interview. Since the passing of his mother, it is especially evident that there is some deep pain that Kanye is holding onto. I sincerely believe that he is trying to take steps toward dealing with it and moving forward, but his level of celebridom seems to be a hindrance. He’s starting to become more and more reminiscent of MJ– brilliant, troubled, recluse. It’s scary.

I truly hope he gets the help he needs and if he hasn’t already, seeks out a professional. The mental health crisis in the Black community is a very real thing. We all need to start dealing with it responsibly by starting with ourselves and encouraging others to seek help when they need it.

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