[Jan. 2017 Opinions] Kanye’s odd behavior leads to unjustified speculation of mental illness


By Zach Strober ’18


It all started on Oct. 2, 2016 at the Meadows Music Festival in Queens, New York. After showing up 30 minutes late, Kanye West was in the middle of performing his song, “Heartless,” when he suddenly halted and said, “I’m sorry. I have a family emergency. I have to stop the show.” He then dropped the mic and sprinted of the stage and the show was over.

For the many Staples students who were at the concert, it was very confusing. For many, including myself, that confusion eventually turned into anger. The mass of people leaving the show looked like a pack of zombies wandering slowly to the exits.

The Meadows performance seemed to be a tipping point, as Kanye only went in a downward spiral from there.

About a month later, Kanye arrived at a performance in Sacramento, California over an hour late. After singing just three songs and going on, quite frankly, a bizarre tirade, he dropped the mic and left the stage, again.

After this performance, people then speculated about what was wrong with Kanye. Many began to believe that Kanye had bipolar disorder, especially after Malik Yusef, an artist and producer who has worked with Kanye throughout his entire career, told hotnewhiphop.com that he believes Kanye had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and decided not to take the proper medication.

The media took this rumor and ran with it, speculating that Kanye had bipolar disorder along with other mental illnesses and was not taking the proper medicine to help treat it.

But, is it really fair to assume that Kanye West has bipolar disorder without really knowing all of the facts? Are they really looking at all of what bipolar disorder or are they only taking the pieces that make it look like he has the disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder causes shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The major symptoms of the disorder, according to Healthline, are risky behavior and mood swings, as well as unrealistic confidence in your abilities.

Recently, Kanye has exhibited many of these symptoms through some of his performances. For example, he had a mood swing during his Sacramento performance when he ranted about Jay-Z and Beyonce.

But is this enough evidence to come to the conclusion that he is bipolar? No, it’s not. With the information that the public has, there would be no way to diagnose him with bipolar disorder. We only know that he exhibits some of the symptoms.

Jumping to conclusions such as this can be very dangerous. Diagnosing someone with a disorder this severe without all of the facts can be destructive, especially if you’re wrong.

People incorrectly dismiss bipolar as merely being exaggerations in mood, where a person experiences really happy moments followed by extremely angry or depressed moments. But there is really much more to the disorder than that. So, although it is a possibility that Kanye has a mood disorder, it is impossible to know if he is or isn’t bipolar without knowing all of the facts.