Saint Pablo: A Rebuke on The Effects of Fame and Men’s Mental Health

“A coward dies a thousand deaths”


I want you to think of something that has been a constant for the last 20 years; It really could be anything…a show, movie, restaurant, just something that has been there constantly, for better or worse, over the last 20 years. Understood? I’ll give you a sec. 



Hard , isn’t it?


Of course! 20 years in an absurdly long span, and to really stay consistent throughout this time, it would take a personality or feat of prodigious stature. It is in our nature; change is a constant, since our houses, our money, our friends, the only thing we will always be closest to will be our mind and our body. On the other hand, you can always find the rare exception. It’s safe to say that if I had to mention one thing that I personally feel fits this mold, it would be Kanye West.


There is no point in me going into detail about who exactly Kanye West is, because just by clicking on this article, you fully understand who this modern renaissance man is: Albums, Fashion, Movies, TV. One way or another, you understand who Kanye is. But when I say that he is “consistent”, it goes both ways. For every feat in Kanye’s life, two controversies accompany it. This is a man who has been constantly in the spotlight for over 20 years. Maybe it was the absurdly non-functional blinds or the bold personality, but at some point, Kanye West became a joke, where every conceivable reality becomes possible, each one more ridiculous than before. From insisting that slavery was a “choice” to running for president during the 2020 US election, there really is no limit to what kind of scandal will come next.


This has become the norm for him. The concept of vanity is so ingrained in the idea of a singular narcissist that it can be difficult to understand that Kanye speaks almost from a populist perspective, a populist narcissism, if you will. I’m not really here to discuss the current situation; I’ll let the gossip tabloids take care of that. Rather, in the midst of another Kanye flare-up, there’s no point in speculating about West’s presidential ambitions, politics or personal life. What is more important to discuss is how the  media allows Kanye West to have these manic episodes without restraint, and then opens him up to being trivialized and denigrated. This highly questionable click-driven tactic also speaks to a larger problem in today’s society, where men’s mental health issues tend to be dismissed, further discouraging men from talking about their issues.


So, once again… let’s talk about Kanye West.

Separating the Art from the Artist 


I want to make it very clear: this is not an “In Defense Of” article. I disagree with Kanye’s current actions and frankly have  for a while. In no way is this article intended to justify the actions taken by Kanye against his family, the media or anyone else. Rather, this is just an attempt to decipher the nature of a clearly troubled individual and understand the underlying meaning behind it. It wouldn’t be right for me to continue without first admitting that I consider myself a fan of Kanye West: he’s absolutely one of the best, and you could even argue, the best artist of the 21st century. When he says that he is a genius, he absolutely backs it up. Critics and fans alike admit that, musically, Kanye is one of the greatest producers and artists of all time, and not to admit it would be willfully ignorant.


I admit that my fondness for their music may cloud my judgment of their actions a bit, but I am constantly trying to separate the art from the artists, but is there really such a thing?


We all like to think that artists (musicians, visual artists, poets, novelists, actors, and dancers) have an added measure of humanity because of the insights they offer us about ourselves, society, and people in general. If they have created or done something that has touched us, they must be good, right? Because we ourselves are good and art has made us better, more empathetic, more open. Often we really want to meet the person who produced that art and are often disappointed when we get the chance.


You love the work of art, it speaks to you, it fascinates you, it stimulates your desire to appreciate the best; less demeaning, things in human creativity…then you discover that the creator of the art was less than perfect…actually just like the rest of humanity…then you decide you don’t or shouldn’t like art more! art! Believe me, the problem is not in the artwork. The problem lies in historical perception. It is wrong to judge past figures with contemporary precepts of social/moral behavior. Great art will survive and remain great long after the bones and morals of its creator have returned to dust.


Artists are clearly not separated from their work, so the idea of divorcing the two is nothing more than a lofty ideal. When considering what lies behind a work of art, simply looking at the content of the work and refusing to consider its context limits our understanding of the piece. Those who wish to separate the art from the artist draw strict boundaries when considering what is actually in the work, but ignore the fact that a work of art is not just a collection of brush strokes, a set of notes, or thousands of frames put together; it is a reflection of the creator.


This is especially true with Kanye, because in every sense of the word, he IS his art. Kanye’s music has always been a reflection of his own personality, as most of his albums reflect a grandiose and selfish sense of self. The intimacy of his album was commendable, but it felt sanitized. Kanye wasn’t just trying to express himself; he was trying to get back on his feet in the commercial arena and thus kept things pop-friendly. While he seriously experimented with great sounds, he kept them accessible, hoping everyone could enjoy it as much as any music critic. He himself said in an interview, “Listening to my music is the code of self-esteem/self-confidence”, and considering that most of the artist’s fan base is made up of quite insecure and naive young adults (between including myself), who are attached to this outstanding nature, it could be argued that he would be right. While I consider this to be the main reason for Kanye’s success, it could also be the same reason why we overprotect and justify some of his more questionable actions.


It can be argued very strongly that, due to the fact that this man has had staggering critical and commercial success in the music industry, we as a collective agree to ignore some of his most damning actions, because the advantages of their work are more considering than the disadvantages. There’s a reason why similar artists haven’t survived the media outbursts in the same way Kanye has, and that’s simply due to the fact that they don’t have the same kind of influence and success that Kanye has had for the last 20 years. years. It’s the period when those who have always disliked Kanye can easily remember why without having to think too hard. It is also the period when his die-hard fans feel they must wrestle, once again, with the massive and contradictory reactions of ignoring him, foolishly trying to defend him, or fervently insisting on a distinction between man and artist, that is, they think too much. . What’s possibly more disconcerting than how staggeringly obtuse Kanye proves to be each season of Yeezy is how seriously everyone takes these very public missteps.


But then again, how much do we really know about Kanye, the person?


“Ye”: An Understanding of Bipolar Disorder and Men’s Mental Health Stigmatization


As we established, there’s no possible way you wouldn’t know who Kanye West is; You know his music, his exploits or why not, his outbursts. But how much do we really know about him?


Ye was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia as Kanye Omari West. After his parents divorced when he was three years old, he moved with his mother to Chicago, Illinois. West’s mother, Dr. Donda C. West, was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University and chair of the Department of English at Chicago State University.


Kanye started out as a producer and dropped out of college to make beats for various rappers, most notably Jay-Z. His beats, with their incorporation of dark soul samples and emphasis on vocal loops, have always stood out since his first appearance. However, Kanye also wanted to pursue a career as a rapper, even after being rejected by a number of record companies because his image was not ‘gangsta’ enough. After being involved in a near-fatal car accident in 2002 and having to undergo jaw surgery, Kanye released his first solo song “Through the Wire”, in which he literally raps through the wire while keeping his jaw shut. and healing. It was this song that helped launch his monolithic rise in the industry, and it hasn’t stopped ever since.


To fully understand where the issues lie, it’s important to point to Kanye’s relationship with his mother, Donda. Like her mother, Donda recognized Kanye’s talent early on. “We were coming back from a short vacation in Michigan when he was 5 years old and he composed a poem in the backseat,” Donda told the outlet. “The only line that sticks with me is ‘the trees are melting black.’ It was late autumn and the trees were bare of leaves. He saw how those branches were etched against the sky and he described them like a poet would.” Prior to Donda West’s death in 2007, Kanye West was open about his gratitude and love for his mother. “My mother was my everything.” she told MTV in 2005. That same year, Kanye released the song “Hey Mama,” a track about Donda’s life as a single mother and her journey from Chicago to Los Angeles.


Kanye has publicly admitted that he feels responsible for his mother’s death. In psychology, our image of our perfect women is often based primarily on the maternal image of the mother. When the mother dies, whether it is a real or symbolic death, the man falls into a deep state of meaninglessness and existentialism (the fear and questioning of existence) that leads to “The Shadow of the Night” when the hero becomes the fallen hero archetype. This death of internal women leads to a depressive state that, if overcome, will lead to a deep seeded independence. Kanyes’ bond with his mother was extraordinarily high, for him Donda was his whole world. Her death led him to a “personal psychological hell” that would take someone to the deepest, darkest depths of the unconscious. After that event, his mental state drastically declined, culminating in a decade of public outbursts and controversies that would ultimately ruin the public’s perception of him.


Finally, in 2016, David Letterman helped the world learn more about musician Kanye West’s bipolar disorder diagnosis and how it affects his daily life. West has shared little about his mental health since he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and entered psychiatric care in 2016. His appearance on Letterman’s show provided a deeper look at his condition and how he manages it.


Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you get depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood changes to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel elated, energized, or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly. Mood swing episodes can occur rarely or several times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can control your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy). Bipolar disorder is infamous enough for being one of the most difficult disorders to live with, but once you add in Kanye’s notoriously self-centered ideas and the millions of devoted fans who will agree with everything he says, his conditions only get worse as the years go by.


Bipolar disorder is infamous enough for being one of the most difficult disorders to live with, but once you add in Kanye’s notoriously self-centered ideas and the millions of devoted fans who will agree with everything he says, his conditions only get worse as the years go by Since the recent Kanye drama, I’ve seen nothing but people calling him crazy, saying that he should be in an insane asylum and that he’s gone insane. I think these comments have really shown how misunderstood bipolar disorder is to the general public, because much of his irrational behavior can be explained by the fact that he is unmedicated and bipolar. I really wish the Kanye discussion was more about what bipolar disorder is. is, how to recognize bipolar disorder and how to help people with it. I also think the whole situation could be an opportunity to talk about medications and the negative side effects that can make people very hesitant or outright refuse to take them. Maybe if enough people were open-minded enough, we could turn this into a really good discussion about bipolar disorder and what it’s like to live with it.


That’s what initially drew me to writing this article: I found Kanye to be the perfect example of the devaluing of men’s mental health struggles in light of the social media age. There is increasing public awareness of the importance of a gender perspective in men’s mental health. This perspective considers effective intervention approaches, barriers to accessing appropriate care, and psychological coping issues. It has been noted that men’s mental health problems have been “hidden in plain sight”. The fact that men, historically, haven’t really been able to access psychological support and talk about their feelings, and be able to explore and understand or get help when they need it, so when they feel like they need to, the same experience can make that men feel that they have failed. Another perfect example of this phenomenon might involve actor Will Smith, who was publicly mocked and ridiculed after an interview about his wife’s affair, where he broke down in tears. Even cases like that of Jhonny Depp, whose previous mental health problems had been used as a form of attack and manipulation by his ex-wife Amber Heard.


Although the idea that women express a much higher incidence of depressive states than men has long been accepted, this opinion has recently become more clouded. Part of the complication is the recognition that men are four times more likely to take their own lives. This dramatic disparity has generally been attributed to the knowledge that men, when contemplating suicide, tend to consider a much more lethal method. But the matter is now receiving additional attention as many scholars in the field of men’s studies suggest that the prevalence of male depression is much higher than previously suspected. Most of these researchers suggest that male depression is generally suppressed and manifests itself through more “acceptable” male outings.


These events and the treatment of prominent individuals are teaching generations of young men the deceptive consequences of expressing mental health issues publicly. We prefer to publicly ridicule the individual’s uncomfortable psychoemotional state in the hope of temporarily feeling superior to these larger than life figures, rather than use their examples to divulge further development in the understanding and understanding of modern mental health. I find this deplorable and personally dread the day when I have to add Kanye’s name to that of Van Gogh and Cobain on the list of artistic geniuses whose lives were cut short by not receiving adequate support.


That’s why it’s so important to really think about how and why people call you “crazy.” There’s a great quote from Dave Chappelle from his Inside the Actors Studio interview that really gets to the heart of this. In a conversation about the difficulties of black celebrity life, Chappelle explains: “The worst thing to call someone is ‘crazy.’ It’s dismissive. ‘I don’t understand this person. So they’re crazy.’ That’s b*****t. ” To continually label what Kanye says as “crazy” is to dismiss it as not worth understanding and to flatten his deeply complex work and his complex personality.


¿Where does this leave us? 


Again, this is not a trial or defense piece, but rather an exploration of the modern discussion of mental health and fame.

This is an interesting case, and definitely a warning on how to deal with or live with these conditions. Kanye is not an asshole, a joke or an idiot. He is sick. And there’s only one person who can help Kanye West right now: Kanye West.


With his unhinged and self-absorbed personality, Kanye has also redefined, for better and for worse, what it means to be a celebrity in the 21st century. He’s a musician who not only rejects the restrictions placed on his image and craft, but openly embraces his most unconventional divergence. By accomplishing so many groundbreaking feats in such an idiosyncratic way, Kanye has not only fostered one of the most formidable and devoted fan bases in the music world, he has also ensured that conversation and discussion about him and his music they will probably never die.


Not just generosity, but sympathy. Kanye West has always been at the forefront of the public’s refusal to allow the artist to become independent of the human. It seems to me that very few artists in history could have withstood the climate of publicity and the attendant scrutiny of today’s media. Forgetting, for a moment, Kanye’s stupid outburst (something we’ve surely learned to do), I would suggest that to dismiss art out of moral qualms with the human being behind it is to ignore the validity of his right and ability to express himself. ; worse, it is allowing oneself to succumb to media demagoguery before judging art on its own merits. This is the kind of dilution of culture itself that no one should want. We should, at all times, celebrate freedom of expression, even if it is poorly executed; we should encourage our peers to create art and sympathize with them when they make blunders. Our path forward must be one of compromise rather than exile; a culture exalted by art rather than demeaned by partisan warfare.


I sincerely hope he gets the help he needs, and that his story helps us open up to this silent world, because love him or hate him, there will never be another Kanye West.


This is the Louis Vutton Don, signing off.


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