Since the start of October 2020, American rapper Kanye West has been the centre of attention in the entertainment industry due to various comments and behaviours correlating with antisemitism and white supremacy. West has always been in the spotlight mostly for his controversial comments and actions, even running a presidential campaign in 2020.
The former President of the United States, Donald Trump, hugging Kanye West at the White House in October 2018. (Source: Oliver Contreras/Getty Images).
However, the consequences that West has faced in this round of controversy seem to overpower all the prior backlash he has faced. West held a small scaled fashion show during the Paris Fashion Week on October 3 where he was seen with Candace Owens, a controversial conservative commentator wearing T-shirts with “White Lives Matter” slogans.
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Kanye West and Candace Owens wearing ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts. (Source from @newsdailyasia/instagram.com).
According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), White Lives Matter is “a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter,” and “is a neo-Nazi group”.
Following the fashion show incident, West elaborates his views on his social media platforms, Instagram and Twitter which were later removed and resulted in West’s accounts being restricted on both platforms, which have been undone as of November 3 this year.
Death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE
Source from Kanye West/twitter.com
Outrageous effort to fan the flames of antisemitism gripping the nation. This group is known for espousing vitriolic #antisemitism and white supremacist ideology. Hate has no place in Los Angeles or elsewhere and these attempts will not divide us. pic.twitter.com/i8szPO1RUw
— ADL Southern California (@ADLSoCal) October 23, 2022
Antisemitic demonstration in Los Angeles following West’s comments (Source from @ADLSoCal/twitter.com)
As a result of these recent behaviours, brands that had ongoing partnerships with West such as Gap, Balenciaga and etc, have cut ties and ended their partnership with West. Most notably Adidas, Kanye West’s collaborator on his highly popular fashion line Yeezy, has cut ties with West and ceased production of all products effective immediately. According to Forbes, this severed tie has cost West his billionaire status.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 20, 2022
Kanye West justified on a podcast that his antisemitic comments will not waver in his collaboration with Adidas. (Source from @StopAntisemites/twitter.com).
While netizens are content with all the consequences that West is currently facing after years of controversy, West’s situation should also open discussion about the importance of mental health awareness as West has been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), bipolar disorder consists of “depressive and manic episodes” and certain forms can also consist of periods of psychosis. West has had a long history of erratic behaviours that can be seen as a symptom of bipolar disorder. Kim Kardashian, West’s ex-wife, also commented on and confirmed his condition in 2020 after West went viral for a series of erratic tweets.
While incomparable due to the scale of his actions in his ongoing drama, the 2020 incident ended publicly with West apologising to Kardashian in a tweet, indicating his remorse.
I would like to apologize to my wife Kim for going public with something that was a private matter.
I did not cover her like she has covered https://t.co/A2FwdMu0YU Kim I want to say I know I hurt you. Please forgive me. Thank you for always being there for me.
— ye (@kanyewest) July 25, 2020
West’s public apology to his then-wife, Kardashian for his series of tweets about their family and personal lives. (Source from @kanyewest/twitter.com).
That being said, antisemitism, white supremacy and racism is not a symptom of bipolar disorder and West’s mental well-being is not an excuse for his behaviour which can be problematic as it may trigger detrimental stigma regarding mental health and bipolar disorder. Regardless, mental health awareness should increase, specifically in public figures in this case. Despite being a veteran in the rap industry, West is still a person at the end of the day. Suffering from a mental health episode in the public eye can be even more damaging as you are constantly under scrutiny, with people praying for your downfall.
Actions have consequences, and West is clearly facing them right now nevertheless. However, it is unproductive to find pleasure in West or anyone who is suffering from mental health struggles, as fighting hate with hate will never succeed.
Nonetheless, below is a series of consequences that have been imposed onto West over the past month.
Feature Image by Axel Antas-Bergkvist on Unsplash.