It’s time the Kanye West jokes stopped because it’s actually quite serious now
The Kanye West (or Ye, as he’s now legally known) discourse has bordered over into dangerous territory and while some may still find “humour” in the memes and “light-hearted ribbing”, there are much more serious issues to concern ourselves with.
Eazy does it
His most recent music video, for example. Dropped online earlier this month, the claymation video was made to accompany his song “Eazy”, a single Ye released back in mid-January and one which has already sparked considerable backlash for its lyrics.
Referencing everything from his divorce (which he describes as “the best divorce ever”), to his extended family to his children, the rapper also took the opportunity to launch an attack against his estranged wife Kim Kardashian’s new boyfriend, claiming, “God saved me from that crash, just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s a**.”
If you thought the lyrics were controversial, the video is even more so and appears to show Ye kidnapping and burying someone who looks alarmingly like Pete. The masked figure (presumably Kanye himself) drives a tied up Davidson to the desert where he buries him alive in the scorched earth and pours rose seeds on his head.
Ye can also be seen cradling and even stroking the cartoon body’s severed head at different points throughout the almost four-minute-long clip which concludes with a harrowing message that reads: “Everyone lived happily ever after. Except
Skete you know who. Jk he’s fine.”
Last month, West took credit for driving the actor (who he refers to as “Skete”) off of Instagram, writing, “tell your mother I changed your name for life.” Another track on the rapper’s new album, Donda 2, also alludes to Pete with the lyrics of “Security” suggesting that the SNL star’s safety is “at risk” for supposedly standing between Ye and his kids.
Kim Kardashian has been declared legally single and in response Kanye uploads a stop motion music video of him KIDNAPPING and DECAPITATING Pete Davidson?????? This is abuse
— daya’s second emmy ? (@sexcipixiegrl) March 2, 2022
Globally, we are witnessing the disturbing actions of @kanyewest against @KimKardashian and it is our responsibility to name this abusive behavior. ? #KanyeWest pic.twitter.com/k6Zv0oMZaW
— Vera House, Inc. (@VeraHouseInc) February 28, 2022
It’s worth noting that Ye released the “Eazy” video on the same day that Kardashian’s request to be declared “legally single” was granted by a Los Angeles court. As we know, things are rarely coincidental in celebrity world and the whole thing pangs of desperation on Ye’s part. West has proved that he will do anything to stay in the conversation. He’s intent on being as controversial as possible because he knows that it will get him media coverage and his antics will inevitably be relayed back to Kim… thus keeping him front and centre of her life.
Online harassment campaign
The video is just one of the latest escalations in Ye’s weeks-long harassment campaign against Pete – and by extension, Kim – however, and one that we have all watched unfold on social media since the start of the new year. Taking to posting, and subsequently deleting, a slew of very targeted screenshots and photos to his personal Instagram account, the rapper has encouraged fans to essentially do his dirty work for him, urging them to shout “Kimye forever” at Davidson when they see him in public… which they’ve done, with gusto.
Kim tried to mediate the situation, reaching out to West and telling him that he is “creating a dangerous and scary environment” with his actions. “Someone will hurt Pete and this will be your fault,” she wrote in a message Ye then shared online. He responded by calling off the hounds and telling supporters, “Upon my wife’s request please nobody do anything physical to Skete, I’m going to handle the situation myself.” Cue the ominous horror movie music.
Pete literally has spoken about having BPD and being suicidal, does Kanye not have a team that needs to approve this shit? They’re literally exploiting one mentally ill man (Kanye) to upset another (Pete) all for some clout. https://t.co/53LAkXES4C
— Claudia (@esclaudias) March 2, 2022
I’m sorry but it’s incredibly annoying that everyone’s ignoring the fact Pete also deals with BPD and things like that video can send you spiralling.
— in a panoramic? (@_haaniyah_) March 3, 2022
Whether Davidson’s safety is legitimately in jeopardy or not remains to be seen, but the fact of the matter remains that Ye’s “Eazy” video could have detrimental effects even if he doesn’t plan on acting on his big talk. Pete – who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – has spoken candidly about his mental health struggles before, with many rightly pointing out that the contents of Ye’s new video could be very triggering for a person like Pete who has expressed suicidal ideation in the past.
Text me, maybe
This weekend there were even more developments in the Pete/Kim/Kanye saga and things took another turn when screenshots of an alleged text exchange between the two men were shared online. Uploaded to Instagram by Davidson’s close friend Dave Sirus, the now-deleted post was simply captioned “*A message from Pete*”.
Pete Davidson’s friend, Dave Sirus, shares text conversation between between Pete and Kanye West. pic.twitter.com/lxAf4xhyd0
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 13, 2022
The first text is from Pete himself and sees the comedian urge Ye to “please take a second and calm down”. “It’s 8 am and it don’t gotta be like this,” the message reads before Pete goes on to defend Kim and describe her as “the best mother” he’s ever met. “What she does for those kids is amazing and you are so f*cking lucky that she’s your kids’ mom. I’ve decided I’m not gonna let you treat us this way anymore and I’m done being quiet. Grow the f*ck up.”
Ye responded by asking Pete where he was which set Davidson up to reply, “In bed with your wife”… a text he accompanied with a selfie of himself, in bed.
The conversation continues with more petty back and forth between the two – Davidson intent on arranging a face-to-face between them, West reluctant to agree to anything unless it’s on his terms.
“I struggle with mental stuff too. It’s not an easy journey. You don’t have to feel this way anymore. There’s no shame in having a little help, you’ll be so happy and at peace,” Pete penned in one message to Ye, who insists that if Davidson wants to see him, he should “come to Sunday Service”.
Telling West that he’s stopped SNL and other comedians from talking about him because he doesn’t want “the father of [his] girl’s kids to look bad out there”, Davidson made it clear that he’s reached the end of this tether and won’t be so forgiving in the future. “I have your back even though you treat me like sh*t because I want everything to be smooth. But if you continue to press me like you have for the past six months, I’m gonna stop being nice.”
As those keeping up with the story will know, aside from a brief stint on Instagram earlier this year, Pete doesn’t have his own social media accounts. Many have doubted the legitimacy of the text exchange, but given that Dave has generously let his friend use his platform to speak out before – he previously shared a statement from Pete in response to Bob Saget’s tragic death – it seems likely that the messages are probably real.
While the motivation behind Dave posting the screenshots is yet unclear, it’s fair to assume that he would not have done so without Pete’s distinct permission. Sirus has since deleted all evidence of the messages from his grid, but the damage has already been done and whatever his and Pete’s end goal was, it’s done nothing but aggravate the situation further with Ye taking to social media to try and find out Dave’s address.
Seeing all of this play out in real-time has been unnerving, to say the least. Especially as the memes continue rolling out and the “Kanye is crazy” brigade start touting their horns. That’s not to underplay the gravity of the rapper’s behaviour – which has been increasingly capricious in recent weeks – but Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2017, which is a serious mental health condition and cannot be ignored either.
Previously detailing his experiences with the disorder on David Lettermen’s Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, he told the chatshow host that he considers it his “superpower”. “What I want to say about the bipolar thing is because it has the word ‘bi’ in it, it has the idea of, like, split personality. Well, that works for me because I’m a Gemini, but when you ramp up, it expresses your personality more. You can become almost more adolescent in your expression,” the musician stated… which seems to corroborate how he’s been lashing out (in all caps) on social media.
Later adding that being in this state can also lead to him feeling “hyper-paranoid” about his surroundings, the rapper admitted that this can make a person think that “everyone wants to kill you”. “You pretty much don’t trust anyone,” he explained.
“If you don’t take medication every day to keep you at a certain state, you have a potential to ramp up and it can take you to a point where you can even end up in a hospital. And you start acting erratic, as TMZ would put it.”
Hinting that the media and “stigma of crazy” can certainly have an effect, Ye likened it to having a “sprained brain”. “This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more.”
“Call him creative, call him chaotic – just don’t call him crazy,” a Forbes article wrote of the performer back in 2019.
West has since claimed to be taking “accountability” for his social media posts, even saying that he is “working on” his communication skills so he can do better. “I’ve learned that using all caps makes people feel like I’m screaming at them,” he said. “I’m working on my communication. I can benefit from a team of creative professionals, organisers, mobilisers and community leaders.” Which brings us to the question of culpability.
Ye argues that the video is just “art”, but that defence feels dated considering it was the same explanation (*read excuse) he gave when addressing the “Famous” controversy a couple of years ago.
To catch you up to speed, Ye has been “on the offs” with singer Taylor Swift for well over a decade now, with everything stemming back to the infamous moment he interrupted her VMAs acceptance speech back in 2009.
Fast forward a couple of years and Ye reignited tensions between the two when he released a song with the line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that b*tch famous.” Things really came to a head when the music video came out though, which showed a naked waxwork figure of Swift lying in bed beside Ye, Kardashian and a host of other famous faces including Chris Brown, Rihanna, Donald Trump and Anna Wintour to name but a few.
West claimed he had gotten approval from Swift to use the line and Kim released video recordings as proof that he had gotten the green light on Snapchat. It doesn’t seem that there was ever full transparency though and Taylor was supposedly unaware about the inclusion of the sentence “I made that b*tch famous” or what Ye’s plans for the music video were. As is usually the case, social media was divided at the time, but one Instagram user described it as “straight-up revenge porn”.
“People said they didn’t like Taylor because she ‘uses songs to humiliate her ex-boyfriends’. We know that’s not true but isn’t it strange that they don’t apply that same logic to a man putting a naked woman in his music video that’s been viewed millions of times because he just doesn’t like her.”
As a survivor of domestic violence I can no longer just sit back be quiet. Kanye West is using his fame and music platform to harass and threaten Kim K and Pete D. It isn't art! It is disturbing, scary and wrong. He needs to be arrested.
— Elisabetta Dracul (@ElisabettaDrac) March 3, 2022
Depicting Swift – another famous person he has orchestrated an online hate campaign against in the past – naked, in her most vulnerable form, bordered more on bullying than “art”, if you ask me.
Team of yes-men
It goes without saying that West is definitely not blameless in the situation, but there are other factors to take into consideration here and it does spark a wider debate about whether his team are also responsible for enabling him to act in such a way without intervening.
While I don’t know all the specific ins and outs of the industry, I can only assume that the “Eazy” music video had to have been approved by a team of people – or “creative professionals, organisers, mobilisers and community leaders” as Ye previously described them. The rapper claims to surround himself with only the crème de la crème, but do any of them really have his best interests at heart? I’d argue not, considering that they allowed him to continue with his vision for the video… one that certainly speaks to a worrying preoccupation with causing Pete Davidson physical harm.
Who should be held accountable then? Obviously, Kanye himself is top of that list, but he’s also battling a very serious mental health condition for which he is not always well-equipped to deal with.
Other celebrities have faced similar fallouts. Just look at what happened to Britney Spears who was put under conservatorship after her downward spiral all those years ago. People pushed her to breaking point, then laughed at her duress. We’re all familiar with the “If Britney can survive 2007…” memes. More recently, attention has turned to Amanda Bynes who just filed to have her own nine-year conservatorship lifted and who had a similarly spectacular fall from grace.
While there is much more at play here than just gender, it is interesting to note that a conservatorship has never been threatened (to our knowledge) against Ye, who seems like a prime candidate by all accounts. Conservatorships are put in place when a person is deemed incapable of managing their own life due to mental illness or other such factors, and West certainly fits the bill – or at least appears to – from what we’ve seen in the media as of late.
I have bipolar disorder. Kanye West has bipolar disorder. Pete Davidson has bipolar AND borderline personality disorder. Mental illness doesn't give you a carte blanche to act abusive. https://t.co/MBMHtSp99N
— Rush Kazi (@Rushzilla) March 3, 2022
With West, there is always the potential – or perhaps inevitability is a better word? – for controversy, for spectacle, for drama. But his “eccentric” behaviour has been written off as “funny” or “a joke” for too long now. Recent events prove that there is much more at stake. Laughter is not the best medicine here and someone needs to step in before anything more serious happens and someone is actually hurt. Fobbing such behaviour off as “harmless” is doing no one any favours and by giving him a pass for entertainment’s sake, we’re all contributing to the problem.
Currently, 1 in 100 people have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in Ireland. Aware has recently launched a new programme, at the end of 2021 – Living Well With Bipolar Disorder which is a free 8-week programme for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. You can find out more information here.