Kanye just shined an ultralight beam on the issues of mental health in black communities.

The rapper's outbursts were frustrating, but they revealed a deeper problem.

Rapper Kanye West often finds himself as a point of discussion in the media, but this week was different.

During two concerts, Kanye West underperformed for fans and instead declared his support for Donald Trump, lashed out at Hillary Clinton, and complained about Jay Z and Beyoncé. After angering millions of fans, it was announced that rest of the "Saint Pablo" tour was cancelled, and West was hospitalized for exhaustion, reportedly suffering from temporary psychosis from sleep deprivation. Many immediately attributed West's outbursts to him vying for attention, but it's clear the rapper's recent outbursts are likely evidence of deeper issues that need professional attention.

Kanye’s behavior, while often inexcusable, does not exempt him from getting the help he needs.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.


As an artist, Kanye, albeit talented, has constantly exhibited waves of male fragility and a blatant disregard for black women. On the same note, he’s called out racism, criticized antiquated gender norms, and has been a game changer in the hip-hop genre.

He’s a complicated figure, but regardless of his often contradictory views, Kanye is still a human who deserves to get help when he needs it.

It's estimated that 5%-10% of African-American men face depression, but evidence of mental health services for black people across the globe is low. While issues like poverty and racism only add fuel to the fire for mental health issues in the black community, many find it difficult to talk about those issues and find help.

During one of Kanye’s recent performances on stage, he brought out Kid Cudi, another black male artist that recently opened up about depression and mental health. Kid Cudi’s openness about his issues sparked a viral hashtag, #YouGoodMan, where many black men opened up about their mental health issues.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Kid Cudi isn’t as polarizing a figure as West and, thus, was heavily supported when he was going through difficult times. But likability shouldn’t be the qualifier for getting help. By only providing help to those we like, we miss the opportunity to create a society that chooses support over judgment.

I myself struggle with giving Kanye the benefit of the doubt, given his random outbursts and questionable views on issues that are important to me. Then I remember his existence as a black man in this country.

In many ways, African-American men have long been seen as undeserving of empathy for their human struggles.

For years, black men have been told they shouldn’t be emotional, their strength and endurance against anything is what makes them a man, and mental health certainly isn't a point of discussion. Much of this is due to racism and the effects of hypermasculinity in the black community, where mental health is still heavily stigmatized — though many black women and men are actively working to change that narrative.

Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images for Vogue.

We aren't sure what caused Kanye to have such a public outburst, and speculating isn't our job. What we should do is acknowledge his outbursts were unusual and that he deserves to get the help he needs.

If we only believe folks who lead perfect lives and never say ridiculous things deserve empathy and a chance for help, we miss the opportunity to spread humanity.

West, like so many others, isn't just the job he does. He's a dad, a husband, and more importantly, a human being. By giving him the respect and space to get help, we show that choosing empathy over judgment is a feasible and necessary option.

You don't have to like West, but you should give him a chance for a healthy life at peace. All people deserve that.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

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