It’s now being reported that Kanye West has been hospitalized in a Los Angeles area hospital. According to NBC News:
A source familiar with the case said Los Angeles police responded to a medical welfare call about 1:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. ET). No criminal activity was involved; the decision to hospitalize West was for his own health and safety, the sources said.
I first saw Kanye West perform during the College Drop Out Tour in 2004. I was an undergrad, and West, along with John Legend, and the violinist he rocked with back in the day, gave an epic performance. I recall being so close I could see the beads of sweat dripping off of his forehead.
The show, however, didn’t go on without typical Kanye West shenanigans.
Right before he was to begin performing, he sat down on the stage, with his louis Vuitton backpack squarely on his shoulders, and refused to get up until the tech crew had properly adjusted the lighting and the sound. And he didn’t, either. He sat on that stage and didn’t budge until everything was to his specifications. I loved it. I thought to myself, “Now this guy cares about us. He wants to make sure he’s giving us the best show possible.”
And it was.
Fast forward to a few days ago when Kanye appeared at a concert over 1.5 hours late, and descended into rant about politics, Beyonce, Jay-z, Taylor Swift, and God only knows who/what else.
You can watch it here:
Apparently, he’s now cancelled the rest of his tour, and as a result folks have been weighing in heavily via social media about how “gone” or “crazy” he is. Some attribute his decline to his association with the Kardashian family, while others feel it all began after his mother died.
I like this music well enough, but I certainly haven’t been following him so closely the last few years to pinpoint exactly when it all began to fall apart. I will say, however, that what I see in that video is not someone who is “crazy” or “gone.” I see someone who may be suffering from a mental breakdown.
You can read the full transcript of the rant by clicking HERE, but here are a few excerpts:
So, when I talk about MTV, let me explain something. I was hurt. Beyoncé, I was hurt because I wanted to present a video called “Fade” and I don’t expect MTV to help me. Mr. West, I don’t respect you. I will let you know that Beyoncé is winning the video tonight for “Formation” over “Hotline Bling” and “Famous.” They told me beforehand so I wouldn’t run on stage. Hey, bruh, y’all ain’t gotta fuck with me, but you know I got the vision and you know I’mma gonna keep it real with you. Beyoncé, I was hurt. I went down seven years on behalf of your—eh, nigga! Don’t […] no shit while I’m talking. I am putting my career, my life, my public well-standing at risk when I talk to y’all like this. This is a moment in the […], bro. The vibes is back. The vibes is back. Motherfuckers might feel a way about this tonight. Beyoncé, I was hurt because I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me and over “Hotline Bling.” In my opinion—now, don’t go trying to diss Beyoncé. She is great. Taylor Swift is great. We are all great people. We are all equal.
But sometimes, we be playing the politics too much and forget who we are just to win. Fuck winning. Fuck looking cool. Fuck looking cool. Fuck being cool. Fuck all that, bruh! I’ve been sitting here to give y’all my truth even at the risk of my own life. Even at the risk of my own success, my own career. I’ve been sitting here to give y’all the truth. Jay Z, call me, bruh. You still ain’t calling me. Jay Z, call me. Aye, bruh, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man. I’m not trying to be the man. I just am a man, the same as anybody here. I ain’t above, below none of y’all. We all equal. We all equal. This is the vibes, bro. This is the future. This is the way of thinking to make America great again. Ha! You didn’t like that! Guess what? Y’all need the vibes. I was hurt. Feelings matter, bro. The way motherfuckers put money up so high, popularity, radio spins. Feelings matter, bro. Feelings matter, bro.
To be fair, I can make out some of what he’s trying to say, but that’s not uncommon when someone is having a manic episode. There can be truth in whatever it is they are trying to articulate, but it doesn’t negate that fact that there is an evident inability to construct a lucid thought.
While there have been times when I’ve felt disappointed by Kanye’s antics, this time, I felt compassion for him. How terrible it must feel to have thoughts you’d like to express but your own mind won’t let you. I am not a doctor. I can’t diagnose him, but I can, with my own rudimentary knowledge of mental illness, suggest that his most recent episode can’t be lumped in with this rest. And maybe it’s because I’ve had my own struggles with mental illness (You can read about it HERE), but something about his recent rant felt different. It felt scary. Mental Illness, like cancer, or AIDS, is life-threatening, and it needs to treated in the same manner you would treat any life-threatening illness, with the help of trusted healthcare professionals.
Kanye may be an eccentric, but he’s also human, and the father of two small children. I hope he gets the help he needs.