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.

Family
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Many of us are too young to remember the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986, much less any details about it. But thanks to a viral Facebook post from Misfit History, some attention is being shed on an incredible heroine who saved many American lives in the standoff.

The post reads:

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Newsy People / Twitter

The internet was ablaze after notoriously private actor Keanu Reeves, 55, walked the red carpet at the LACMA Art + Film Gala on Saturday with his new girlfriend, artist Alexandra Grant, 46.

It was refreshing to see a man in Hollywood dating a woman who's age-appropriate. Older actors are notorious for being with women half their age.

Keep Reading Show less
popular