All eyes on Ye

Ye has recently voiced many antisemitic and racist statements which has caused controversy. The real question is, why did he make these remarks in the first place?


Kanye West, now known as Ye, is a world-renowned rapper, ex-husband of influencer/socialite Kim Kardashian and creator of the brand Yeezy. However, most recently he has been the headline across many newsrooms as a result of his antisemitic and racist statements

Behind the scenes of this current controversy, there is another layer to the story that many might not be aware of: mental health. Mental health is defined as a person’s condition with regard to their emotional, psychological and social well-being, which can often impact an individual’s daily decisions and actions. When combined with the stressors of everyday life, these challenges could ultimately lead to mental disorders which, if not properly addressed, could lead to severe obstacles. Some examples of mental health disorders include depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

From all accounts in the media, sometime between 2016-2017, West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health describes bipolar disorder as a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are two forms of mood episodes, manic/hypomanic and depressive. 

Based on the description of bipolar disorder and mood episodes, some might question whether West experienced a manic mood episode that influenced his recent comments and actions. A manic mood episode can include uncontrollable, racing thoughts, quickly changing ideas and topics when speaking and increased risky behavior: all symptoms that can be severe enough to cause dysfunction in responsibilities. If West did have an episode recently, that could have driven him to say, do and post what he did. Whether or not his mental health truly impacted the way he has acted recently, does not excuse him for the hurtful remarks that he made. 

Whether or not his mental health truly impacted the way he has acted recently, does not excuse him for the hurtful remarks that he made. 

As we take a look back at other controversial events during the past month that involves West, such as wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at the Paris fashion show or the statements he made regarding the Jewish religion, we start to question whether or not these were also signs of his disorder.  Unfortunately, we may never know because every step a celebrity makes in life is highlighted for the public to judge and make their own conclusions, making a living with any kind of illness challenging.  

The hardest part about being in the public eye is that no matter what you face behind closed doors, you have to find a way to control it because one wrong move and your career could be done in an instant. For example, after the official information was released about West’s recent actions and statements, he was dropped by many of the companies sponsoring him, such as Adidas and Balenciaga. Additionally, TJX Companies and Gap will no longer sell Ye’s apparel. 

West now is faced with these severe consequences because he carried out the plan to voice antisemitic statements. His mental disorder can be challenging and could have played a leading role in his decision to act the way he did, but his mental health can not be the overall defendant for the current problem. 

Mental illness can have a huge impact on the individuals that suffer from these challenges. But while they may contribute to a person’s outbursts or actions when not diagnosed and treated properly, they should not be considered an excuse for poor behavior.