By Terrance Turner
Dear Kim Kardashian West,
I know you’re busy studying to be a lawyer and mothering four kids, but I need you to read this. I know this isn’t something you really want to hear, but you need to hear it.
Your husband needs help.
At this point, you and I both know that your husband, Kanye West, struggles with bipolar disorder. I know that must be difficult to deal with. As someone who serves as a caretaker for a parent battling mental illness, I know that it is a difficult job. I know sometimes it’s easier to just ignore the bizarre, problematic behavior and keep your head down and keep going. I know you probably wish that I would just mind my business. And normally, I would.
But things are different now.
Your husband has decided to run from president — despite having virtually no experience or knowledge required for the job. We are in the middle of a deeply fraught moment on race relations: protests continue over the death of George Floyd. And protests in Portland have taken a deeply troubling, authoritarian turn. We STILL haven’t arrested the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. This is a moment of real crisis, and Kanye is completely unable to meet this moment.
He still hasn’t apologized for saying slavery was a choice. Nor has he apologized to us for endorsing Donald Trump — a man who wouldn’t rent rooms to Black people in the 1970s, who said “laziness is a trait in blacks” in the ’90s, and who spent most of the late 2000s trying to destroy the first African-American president. (Nor, by the way, has he apologized to the 50 women — some black — he threw under the bus by defending The Artist Formerly Known As Cliff Huxtable. But that’s another topic for another day.)
Today, he threw gasoline on that simmering racial fire by (again) making insensitive comments about slavery. “Harriet Tubman never actually freed the slaves,” he told a crowd at a “campaign rally” in South Carolina today. “She just had them work for other white people.”
Why are Kanye and Nicki Minaj so obsessed with trying to discredit and disrespect an American heroine? (I guess in Nicki’s case, it’s to distract us from that career criminal she married. Or from the fact that she only got her first #1s by collaborating with self-loathing racists and pedophile snitches? Anyway, that’s beside the point.)
Worse yet, there are now questions about his mental fitness for the job. Today, Kanye added further questions to an already-growing concern about his mental health by breaking down at the event. West said that while he believes abortion should be legal, financial incentives to help struggling mothers could be a way to discourage the practice. “Everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Really? This what we doing?
While at the event (to support a campaign whose website reportedly has no registration or RSVP information), Kanye burst into tears while discussing his parents and daughter. “My mom saved my life! My dad wanted to abort me,” he said. “There would have been no Kanye West.” And then he went several steps further.
“I almost killed my daughter!” he insisted, through his tears. “I almost killed my daughter.”
I’m going to assume he’s talking in the context of abortion, given the context and his (sometimes) pro-life leanings. But there is no amount of context that makes this OK.
Kim, you told Vogue in 2019 that Kanye taking bipolar medication was a nonstarter. “For him, being on medication is not really an option, because it just changes who he is,” you said. “Traveling a lot does set it off, so he doesn’t travel as much as he used to. But honestly, I never want to speak for him, because I am not in his mind.”
Clearly. But Kim: traveling is part of the job of any presidential candidate. How is he going to make it through stops in Florida? Or North Carolina? Or Iowa? Or New Hampshire? How is he going to function at nationally televised debates? Or cope with the pressures of being on the campaign trail? What if he slides into depression? Being bipolar presents an even greater risk for suicide than major depressive disorder, according to Psychology Today. According to the DSM-5, one-fourth of all deaths by suicide may be related to bipolar disorder (APA, 2013).
Continuing with this campaign — and unmedicated, no less — will likely lead to (at the least) embarrassing episodes for you and your family. But the outcome could be even worse than that. Please convince your husband to end his campaign and get professional help.