Show Some Compassion for Kanye

What you saw in that interview with Matt Lauer and all the recent antics is an artistic genius who is in pain. Right now he needs our support, not derision.

Kanye West (Today Show/NBC)
Kanye West (Today Show/NBC)

As a mental health advocate, I’ve seen people crumble under lesser triggers. Losing your mother and your base and your support is the ultimate trigger. Yes, Kanye brags often about his riches, but I’m willing to bet my own baby boy that he would gladly give that all back just to have his mother for an hour, for a second.

Put aside all your preconceived notions about who Kanye West is and look at him purely as a child who has lost his mother and his way and is struggling to keep himself and his world together. It doesn’t matter how old he is; as Taylor Swift so patronizingly noted, hurt is not about maturity or how much money you have. And I think this man is in pain.

I don’t know Kanye. What I do know is that his talent is undeniable, but he’s more than just an idol to be alternately worshipped and crucified; he’s a human being. A lonely, depressed genius struggling to make sense of a world that fails to understand him. Struggling to articulate what happens in his mind and failing miserably in his quest to be understood. His music speaks for him more often than not, but he also won’t allow his music to be his only voice. He pushes for more, and when you push too hard, something breaks.

Russell Simmons wrote a touching open letter in support of Kanye, but I challenge Simmons to go one step further. Call him. Reach out to him. Encourage him to finally seek the peace that left when his mother passed. Now, more than he does any iTunes download, Kanye needs that support.

To paraphrase his own hit, “Hey Mama,” “Kanye, we gonna love you til you don’t hurt no more.”

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian born poet-writer and mental health advocate. She is currently working on a memoir documenting her life living with bipolar II disorder. Follow her on Twitter.

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