I am going to make this quick and painless. Almost every headline over the past week or so has been about Kanye West. Last weekend I write about Kanye West in a post titled “The Life of Hip Hop 2” and not much has changed since then. As some of you may know my educational background is in mental health and education so for the purposes of this work we are going to talk about mental health in general as it relates to being a public figure. I want to begin by saying that mental health is important for all of us to maintain and how much sleep a person gets on an average is the first major key to process your thoughts better known as cognitions. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Younger people should also take naps in the afternoon because while you are asleep your brain processes all of the information from the activity you engaged in prior to. That means sensory information, visuals, sounds, and smells are processed by the brain to make sense and bring understanding so that if you are in what is perceived to be the same situation in the future you’ll know how to handle it and cope in the appropriate manner.
Coping skills are the second major keys to mental health. The phrase to remember Hip Hop Heads is that what is stressful to you may not be stressful to others and vice versa. As a young Black man losing a mother to unforeseen circumstances is obviously depressing if the relationship between the two was a healthy one. We know Kanye and his mother had a great relationship so when she died in the manner that she did I’m sure Kanye took on some level of guilt. He may have been able to cope with the death better if he understood that he wasn’t the cause of her death. Kanye wouldn’t be the first person to have those feelings. Queen Latifah bought her brother a motorcycle when she was able to do so and he died in a car accident. Jay Z’s nephew was killed in a car accident driving a car that he purchased for him for his graduation. All three of them felt or feel some level of guilt and responsibility for the death of their loved one. Kanye West attempted to cope with the death through his music after we, the public, demanded an album from him during the time when he should have been resting and taking time out for himself.
Pressure doesn’t always create diamonds, in fact pressure can bust pipes. It was clear that Kanye was not coping well at the VMA’s but he was able to put down the bottle but then he added more pressure when he began dating his longtime crush Kim Kardashian. I know we’ve all seen the memes with Lamar Odom, Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn, Scott Disick, Rob Kardashian, Tyga, and Kanye insinuating that the family of women ruined them but I won’t blame them and we shouldn’t. Being in the public eye as much as they are is because of us and they are capitalizing on the culture of celebrity worship. If we back away and stop giving our attention to things, people, and instances that don’t deserve or need or clicks, views, streams, or spins then things will slow down and eventually go away. Almost like a school bully. If you don’t give them the reaction they want they’ll leave you alone. Kanye probably thought he could handle the pressure but all of the men associated with the Kardashian family had these issues before hand. They are only just now coming to the light.
The last key to understanding mental health is to understand that anyone at any time or any age can have a mental break. Mental health does not discriminate between economic classes and mental health is something the people of the African diaspora have had to push through ever since the first African met the first Englishmen. I work with people of all ages and ethnicities and they all have their story. You have college professors, former prostitutes, elderly, engineers, military personnel, and doctors all of whom were productive citizens in their community and respective fields but genetics and stress can break any individual. A lot of the families are shocked and don’t understand why their loved one has to take medication to function and some go back to their normal lives once they get their needs met but some don’t. Now you have cameras, news outlets, and other media waiting outside of the hospital, his home, and places he frequents just to get the money shot or the quote of the century just so they can make a buck. Its exploitation and demoralization. We need to leave celebrities alone and give them their privacy. We don’t have to clamor for a celebrity if we see them in the mall or at dinner. They are regular people just like us. We are missing out on our own reality trying to live vicariously through these celebrities. They are not royalty! (Don’t get me started on Elizabeth over there) We can no longer put these people on a pedestal, don’t watch the throne.