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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.

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

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.

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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Photo by munshots on Unsplash

Last May, the whole world reacted to the murder of George Floyd caught on video by a quick-thinking teenage bystander. We watched the minutes tick by as Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck. We watched Floyd tell the officers he couldn't breathe and then call out for his mother. We watched him stop talking, stop moving, stop breathing while Derek Chauvin kept on kneeling with his hand in his pocket.

While most of the attention has been on Chauvin's actions in that horrifying video, there were three other police officers involved at the scene.

Three other officers who participated in either helping hold Floyd down or watching as it happened. Three officers who witnessed their colleague murder a man in plain sight, with bystanders begging them to intervene, and doing nothing to stop it. Three officers who didn't even try to resuscitate the man who had stopped breathing right in front of them.

The accountability of those officers has been in question since Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the George Floyd case. Now, a federal grand jury has indicted all four officers, including Chauvin, for willfully violating George Floyd's constitutional rights.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less