Kanye West has had an interesting few months, hasn’t he? He is a divisive figure, to say the least. While he’s had some appalling behavior of late, including his shocking meltdown on TMZ with Van Lathan about Donald Trump’s policies and slavery, he offered up some very interesting insights about mental health stigma last week on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
No Kanye interview is without its controversy, as he is already being scrutinized for failing to respond to a pointed question on Trump during the Kimmel segment. However, as the conversation steered towards his new album, ‘Ye’, where West very candidly speaks about his bipolar disorder, Kanye revealed a refreshing take on the subject.
“I think it’s important for us to have open conversations about mental health, especially with me being black because we never had therapists in the black community, we never approached taking medication.”
He also clarified his behavior at TMZ, explaining that his actions were important for people to see because he was in a manic state, which is a part of his bipolar disorder.
“By the time I got to TMZ, I was ramped up, and the world really got to experience someone in a ramped-up state.”
“[People] need to be able to express themselves without fear of judgment,” Kanye added.
A skeptical person could look at this explanation as a PR ploy to excuse his behavior at TMZ. Because, and make no bones about it, he was roasted for that outburst (and rightly so). But let’s leave controversy and political agendas out of this and focus on the message. That message?
“[People] need to be able to express themselves without fear of judgment”
We live in a world that is heavily influenced by the actions of celebrities – too heavily in this writer’s eyes. But it’s because of this that we need to celebrate when these figures (maybe even especially the often outlandish ones, such as Kanye West) choose to publicly fight the war against stigma.
There’s no disputing his controversy, but that doesn’t mean, when it comes to mental health, that he isn’t right.