“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.

“Man in the Mirror”: Chris Brown’s MJ Tribute at the BET Awards

June 28th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


Last night BET hosted its 10th Annual Awards Show! ::applause and confetti::


OK. Let’s be real. *side-eye*

I have to be honest up front and admit that I DID NOT watch the entire thing and mostly just caught some the performances on youtube. My favorite was the Prince Tribute. So, really I just loooove looking at Prince and that Patti Labelle kicked off her shoes (it looked like walking was a STRUGGLE) and of course Janelle Monae held it down. Oh AND Esperanza Spalding?! I see you, BET.

Chris Brown’s Michael Jackson Tribute was also nothing to frown at.

I’ve watched it several times now and C-Breezy most definitely held it down. I don’t think there is any young artist out there who could have done it better. He channeled Michael. I was very impressed. He has some serious talent.

All that said, instead of being moved by his emotional display at the end of the performance, I found myself rolling my eyes. The BET Awards was one of his first opportunities to perform in a long time on a nationally televised stage. And let’s not forget that BET did not let him do a tribute for Michael Jackson last year. Brown has had a difficult year since his gross display of domestic violence and maybe those tears were an expression of everything he’s been through while trying to resurrect his image.

But, I think this is what makes me uncomfortable. What is he really sorry for? Is he sorry for what he did to Rihanna? Is he sorry that young boys and girls across America saw what he did and can interpret it in a number of scary and twisted ways? So many people are quick to forgive him, saying he paid his dues, but from what I can tell, Chris has been far more concerned with getting back his career than claiming ownership of his actions. I just think there needs to be a little more talk about WHY what he did was wrong, and not just an effort to brush it under the rug as if it never happened. I understand he is a young man and to be honest, I think it shows in the ways that he has handled this situation.

Nonetheless, he is a great artist and performer. Part of me is rooting for him, but I think a bigger part of me still questions his sincerity.

Alas, it is quite the contentious issue. What do you think, readers?

P.S. RIP Michael Jackson. No one can do it like you.

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