Before You Cancel Cousin Kanye West, Let’s Talk

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 13: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West stand together in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 13, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By now, you’ve seen the various headlines of “Kanye West said this,” and “Kanye West did that,”—I don’t think we need to catch up on that part so let’s start from what happened next. What followed from those headlines was a major divide in the internet, the commentary, and of course the people controlling the social media accounts bashing and defending Mr. West. The loudest social media debate: Should we trade Kanye to another team (the same way Stacy Dash was traded for Gary Owen) OR should we simply #CancelKanye.

I scrolled through social media reading comments and became more and more disappointed in the reactions that I was seeing—the lack of compassion I was seeing…but then, it hit me. THIS is a Black man.

We, as black people, understand mental health when it’s a white male involved in a mass shooting, but we have yet to fully grasp the idea and image of mental health affecting our own, especially our men. It’s hard for us to see our fathers, brothers, husbands, and cousins being tormented by the inner workings of their own minds—so we don’t.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 01: Rapper Kanye West performs on World AIDS Day at ‘A (RED) Thank You,’ presented by (Bank of America)RED on December 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for (RED))

We close our eyes to what they’re going through, and our mouths follow suit. When others begin to notice and show concern we bury their pain in words of concealment and jest. We don’t confront the mental health issue at hand, and thus leave our loved ones to suffer in silence. The same way we so easily “Cancel Kanye,” is the same way we’ve canceled (insert your cousin’s name here).

It’s no secret, I’m a fan of West’s music, artistry, and petty demeanor. I could feel the pain in 808’s and see the scary shift from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to Yeezus. I could also feel the