By: Alexandra Scheib
*Content Warning: mental health and antisemitism*
While I loathe the idea of writing about disgraced international rap star, former husband to Kim Kardashian, and recently exposed antisemite “Ye” West, it's important that we talk about his latest notable moments on social media, because there’s a lot we can learn from them. It’s easy to take a horrible perspective somebody has and shut it out, but it’s important to understand where that person’s beliefs originated. Putting on “good and bad blinders” that differentiate perspectives and beliefs into two categories is part of the reason why West was led to make such atrocious statements in the first place.
On October 14, 2022, West posted a text message chain with fellow rapper, Diddy, on Instagram. In this text chain, Diddy called out Ye’s racism and responded to Ye’s “white lives matter” t-shirt that he sported during both Paris fashion week and on Fox News with notorious republican Tucker Carlson. West claimed that Jewish people were controlling Diddy and shaping his words, despite the rationality of one black rapper texting another black rapper, and telling him not to wear t-shirts that say “white lives matter” on them. Seemingly, and understandably, the entire world erupted. The post was ultimately deleted and West was banned from Instagram, however that did not stop him. He took to twitter and posted about how he was going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”. West then claimed that there is no way he can be antisemitic because he is black, and “black people are actually Jew[s]”. This post, which is both horrific in grammar and in message, was taken down by Twitter, but not before the entire internet erupted over it.
Later on, it was revealed that Ye has been heard saying positive things about Hitler and his “redeemable qualities” for as long as five years now (Morrow, 2022). Celebrities using their elevated platforms and voices to share their political and moral beliefs is not a new phenomenon, but never has a celebrity as famous as West agreed with one of the most hated people in history, who almost entirely exterminated the European Jewish population. West once again proved that antisemitism, Nazism, and stereotypes that all prevent the ability to love other people, are alive and well. West doesn’t think the way you or I do. Clearly, something is up with West. So what the f*** is it?
West has bipolar disorder. This is in no way at all a justification for his actions, words, or the people he has hurt. Being bipolar does not make you antisemitic. People with bipolar disorder alternate between having high energy, talkativeness, and a decreased need for sleep in their mania phase, and then hitting rock bottom and being tired all the time, not being able to concentrate, and feeling empty (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Bipolar disorder is typically lumped in with other mental illnesses like depression or anxiety, but entirely its own, and is characterized by very high highs and very low lows. Delusions and false perceptions of reality are also characteristics of bipolar disorder (Collier, 2023). This false perception of reality is likely a driving force behind Ye’s antisemitic thoughts and outbursts. Once the contact was made, there was no going back for him.
West is such a well known artist that his actions have had catastrophic reach. Adidas, a European sports fashion company, known for selling West’s brand, Yeezy, claims to have lost $540 million dollars in ending their partnership and not selling Ye’s brand anymore (Associated Press, 2023). Balenciaga, another high end fashion brand, also chose to cut their ties with him. One controversial decision came in the form of singer Rihanna performing West’s song that she is featured on, “All of the Lights” during the Super Bowl halftime show, but cutting out his verses. The song is as much hers as it is his, right? His actions have had repercussions across the globe and have ultimately culminated in a new instagram post.
On March 26, 2023, almost six months after his initial instagram post, West posted a picture of the 21 Jump Street Movie Cover with the caption:
“Watching Jonah Hill in 21 Jump street made me like Jewish people again
No one should take anger against one or two individuals and transform that into hatred towards millions of innocent people
No Christian can be labeled antisemite knowing Jesus is Jew
Thank you Jonah Hill I love you.”
This elicits only one response from me: Kanye “Ye” West, what the f***?
Collier, S. (Ed.). (2023, March 8). Bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness or manic
depression). Harvard Health. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/bipolar-disorder-manic-depressive-illness-or-manic-depression-a-to-z#:~:text=If%20left%20untreated%2C%20a%20first,last%20longer%20as%20time%20passes
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, December 13). Bipolar disorder.
Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955
Morrow, B. (2022, December 2). A complete timeline of Kanye West's antisemitism fallout. The
Week. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from https://theweek.com/kanye-west/1017995/a-complete-timeline-of-kanye-wests-antisemitism-fallout
The Associated Press. (2023, March 8). Adidas reports a $540m loss as it struggles with unsold
Yeezy products. NPR. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from https://www.npr.org/2023/03/08/1161905306/adidas-ye-kanye-west-yeezy-loss