Calling Kanye West mentally insane has become much of a pastime.
According to many, his Twitter feed – including, but not limited to, a diatribe about his shared “dragon energy” with President Donald Trump – serves as evidence that the 40-year-old father of three is a loose cannon, maniacally cackling to himself in a dark room somewhere in Los Angeles.
The rapper’s name is now rarely seen without the descriptors of ‘crazy’, ‘erratic’, or ‘bizarre’ sitting alongside it, each adjective serving as a reminder that, yes, Kanye West was hospitalised for mental illness in 2016 and that, evidently, the media refuses to forget about it.
We continue to affix a label of mental illness to the collar of Kanye West’s $500 Yeezy shirt, despite all those close to the musician insisting not only is he fine, but that he’s doing better than ever.
After celebrity website TMZ joined the masses in dubbing Kanye mentally ill earlier this week (they quoted a ‘source’ who noted some “erratic” behaviour) the musician challenged the tabloid’s founder Harvey Levin to visit his office. There, in the space of two hours, it became clear: Kanye West is not unwell. He is an eccentric creator, deep in the creative process of developing his upcoming album.
It prompted somewhat of an apology from the publisher, who followed up with an article titled ‘Kanye West the Opposite of Erratic as He Plans Album Release’.
The Out Loud crew discuss Trump and Kanye’s friendship. Post continues after audio.
“Kanye West is laser-focused on the release of five new albums, and based on a firsthand account, the people claiming he’s erratic or in the middle of a meltdown are off base,” TMZ conceded on Thursday.
That correction is helpful, though it doesn’t erase the way we continue to discuss Kanye West’s quirkiness. Stapling oddness to insanity bleeds into two dangerous lanes of thought; one, that mental illness is permanent, and those who have suffered in the past are just one rogue tweet away from relapse, and two, that to voice contrarian political views is to expose some kind of intellectual or mental incompetence.
Kanye West does not neatly fit in the boxes we want him to, but that doesn’t mean he is afflicted.
Surprising, perhaps, is that the leading voice of reason in this mess is none other than Kim Kardashian, West’s wife of almost four years, who tweeted to her 59.8 million followers:
To the media trying to demonize my husband let me just say this… your commentary on Kanye being erratic & his tweets being disturbing is actually scary. So quick to label him as having mental health issues for just being himself when he has always been expressive is not fair
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 25, 2018