Amberleigh Jack is a lifestyle and entertainment reporter for Stuff.
OPINION: I have seen – and experienced – the best and the worst of mental illness. And I learned a lot along the way.
I’ve seen people I’m close to thrive while battling serious mental health issues. I also saw a lot of crash and burn. Some have lost everything, including their lives.
One truth has been consistent along the way. If you don’t have anyone in your life to sit down and ask for help when you really need it, chances are you won’t.
Here is another truth. Kanye West’s recent behavior regarding the divorce from ex-wife Kim Kardashian is not normal behavior.
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It’s not art. It’s not romantic. He looks dangerously like someone spinning in a spiral.
Excusing it as creativity, or a normal outlet or anything other than totally unacceptable is, in and of itself, totally unacceptable.
The rapper reportedly posted on social media encouraging his fans to harass Kim’s new boyfriend, Pete Davidson, before deleting the posts. This is not rational behavior.
He sent a truckload of roses to Kim’s house, although she saw someone else. Also, not rational behavior.
He recently released a music video on the track easy with The Game, which depicts a clay production of what appears to be rapper kidnapping, beheading and burying alive Pete Davidson.
Once again. This is not rational behavior.
It’s dangerous. And you have to stop being excused under the guise of mental illness. Or art. Or creative brilliance.
Ye, as he is now legally named, has been quite open about his battles with bipolar disorder in the past. That in itself is something to celebrate. I was here. I know this is a terrifying and vulnerable stage.
But neither is it a free pass to get away with actions so upsetting to the people around you that Kardashian allegedly texted her, asking her to stop — lest something wrong. arrives at Davidson.
Messages that the rapper then published publicly online.
If Ye is spiraling, what is desperately needed here is for someone close to him to intervene quickly.
And therein lies the problem. He didn’t make this video alone. And it seems no one, anywhere along the way, thought to step in and put a stop to it.
He has a huge fan base. And way too many of them on Twitter are playing his latest music video easy with the Game as a harmless creative expression.
Comments on the clip are filled with people calling the artist brilliant and troubled. Yet many do not outright condemn the behavior.
“I love that only Kanye can do a song and then I’m like, ‘Damn that was fire, this dude needs help’,” one wrote.
Divorce is messy and painful. Divorce in the public eye is arguably even more so. But the threats disguised as art are vile and are presented as an emotional release rather than the potentially dangerous messages that they are.
Hey Ye – mental illness doesn’t give you a free pass to be vile. It certainly doesn’t give you the freedom to harass and threaten your children’s mother’s new boyfriend.
On his Instagram on Monday, Kanye defended his music video, saying “art is therapy.” He has since deleted the post.
Sorry Ye, but no. You are crossing a line from which you may never return.
If it’s the art in question, it’s a very good sign that you need some real therapy.
“I don’t negotiate with therapists,” is a line from the rapper’s verse in easy. But maybe it’s time he did.
The best comments on this post are currently from verified accounts. Verified accounts that praise him and his art. Verified accounts that don’t suggest Kanye can sit back and take a hard look at his behavior lately. Verified accounts that don’t actively ask the question “Is Kanye acting rationally?”
The answer to which should be an emphatic “no”.
To paraphrase a line I’ve heard many times in my own life, having mental illness is not Kanye’s fault. His behavior, however, is his responsibility.
Excusing this toxic behavior diminishes the efforts of anyone with mental illness who does not have threatened their ex-wife’s new boyfriend in a music video and excused him by calling him “art”.
Mental health does not excuse unpleasant behaviors, but it can exacerbate them. If no one says “no” to you, there is no reason to believe that this behavior will not only not stop, but that it may get worse.
Sure, maybe Kanye is a guy going through a tough time and releasing his anger and frustration through his music. And maybe Kim and Pete find themselves in the crossfire this week.
But here’s the thing. What if that’s not all?
What if nobody stops and says this kind of behavior is going too far.
So to Kanye, for the sake of your ex-wife, your children and yourself: please get help before you – or someone you love – gets hurt.
Where to get help
- 1737, Need to talk? Call for free or text 1737 to speak to a qualified adviser.
- Anxiety New Zealand 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
- Depression.org.nz 0800 111 757 or SMS 4202
- Children’s line 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7.
- safety rope 0800 543 354
- Mental Health Foundation 09 623 4812, click here to access its free resource and information service.
- Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254
- Samaritans 0800 726 666
- Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- yellow brick road 0800 732 825
- thelowdown.co.nz Web chat, email chat or free text 5626
- What’s new 0800 942 8787 (for 5 to 18 year olds). Telephone consultation available Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Online chat is available every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Youth Line 0800 376 633, free text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find online chat and other support options here.
- If it is an emergency, Click here to find the number of your local crisis assessment team.
- In case of life danger, call 111.