As often as Kanye West talks about the state of his mental health, one would think that we’d be having a national conversation on mental health–kind of like the way we had a wave of conversations about domestic violence in the wake of the Chris Brown-Rihanna incident. Yet, in the four years since Kanye began talking openly about the depression related to the death of his mother and the dissolution of his romantic relationship with longtime paramour Alexis Phifer, the conversations have continued to be one-sided.
A search for “Kanye West and Depression” brings up surprisingly few articles and discussions. There’s a sterile AP article describing his initial comments, Cord Jefferson advising Kanye to go to a therapist on The Root, an MTV news article on his path to recovery, and Tom Breihan in the Village Voice distilling 808′s and Heartbreak down to “emo bellyaching” and a “album-length tantrum at his ex.” While Bassey Ikpi later argued to have some compassion for Kanye, it was one small plea in a sea of indifference and condemnation.
After four years of being open about pain and vulnerability, I’m starting to wonder if society will ever really hear him.
The R’s editor/owner Latoya Peterson is posting about mental health—in pop culture and in daily lives—all this week. Check out her analysis on Kanye West’ 808’s and Heartbreak and how badly pop/media culture handled his discussing his mental health on the album on the R today. (via racialicious)
Just wanted to highlight this bit:
the only acceptable emotion for Black men to publicly express and still retain their masculinity is rage.
This reminds me of Tricky back in the 90s - he said in a documentary once that whenever he did photo shoots for magazine covers they wanted him to look angry and make rage faces and look tough. But his music wasn’t really about that, it was about feeling sad and confused a lot of the time. But nobody wanted to see that, they said he was more marketable as an angry black man.
this actually, this actually really means a lot to me right. when I first heard that album, it connected with me on a primal level, it’s my favorite kanye album, I think it’s a perfect album and I’ve never understood why people shit on it so much. I still hope that time will tell and and people will come to see it for what it is.