In 2018, more than ever, we're in desperate need of more honest and encouraging discussion surrounding mental health. And probably to the surprise of many, Kanye West, 40, just delivered it.
During his ye album launch party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, West sat down with BigBoyTV to discuss his controversies, his album, and his mental health. And he was, admiringly, an open book.
He revealed to radio host Big Boy that he was "diagnosed with a mental condition" at the age of 39. And while the 21-time Grammy winner didn't disclose his exact diagnosis in the interview, he revealed in new track "Yikes" that he lives with bipolar disorder. The cover art for the album also alludes to it, with the phrase, "I hate being Bi-Polar it’s awesome."
He also touched on his privilege when it comes to the prominence of mental health disorders in America, and honestly, advocates would be proud. He acknowledges he has an outlet and opportunity many others do not — which is a major issue in this country.
"Think about people that have mental issues that are not Kanye West, that can't go and make that and make it feel like it's all good," he said. "Think about somebody that does exactly what I did at TMZ and they just do that at work, but then Tuesday morning they come in, they lost their job and they can't go back and make that. That's why God put that on me at age 40."
He goes on, candidly, adding his outlook on the condition. Although many may see bipolar disorder as a curse, he's flipped the script to see it as a blessing. "Like I said on the album, it's not a disability, it's a superpower," he tells Big Boy.
While many people still find it hard to forgive his previous statements, like calling slavery a "choice," others are praising him for his honesty.
Personal thoughts on the rapper aside, though, using his influence to discuss mental health is a HUGE deal. Not only is it a valuable way to increase awareness, but it does wonders for breaking the stigma.
While West looks at his condition as a superpower, many others struggle to see theirs the same way. If you are struggling with bipolar disorder and are in need of information and /or support, please call the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NAMI” to 741741.