Kanye West has been hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of UCLA, reportedly for stress and exhaustion.
The pressures on hip-hop artists to conceal mental health vulnerabilities have come under almost unprecedented scrutiny.
West’s hospitalization comes at a pivotal time for hip-hop’s complex relationship with mental health. Rather than distancing themselves from West’s possible mental health issues, fellow musicians such as Chance the Rapper, West’s recent collaborator, told the BBC he wanted to “extend a special prayer to my big brother Kanye West”.
Grammy-winning hip-hop producer 9th Wonder tweeted:
Been knowing the brother upwards of 13 years. Mental healing is a serious thing, no matter what. Stay strong Kanye West. ✊🏾— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) November 22, 2016
But, as the conversation around mental health in the music industry has opened up over the past couple of years, particularly over the psychological toll of being in the public eye, hip-hop had evolved and started owning depression as something other than a sign of weakness.
In October, Ohio rapper Kid Cudi, made a public statement to say he had been hospitalized and admitted “anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember”.
“Its been difficult for me to find the words to what I’m about to share with you because I feel ashamed,” he wrote. “Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges … I’m scared, I’m sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, I’m sorry. It’s time I fix me. I’m nervous but … [I’m going to] get through this.”
Aside from Kid Cudi, West’s hospitalization comes after a series of bizarre blowups that included ranting about Jay Z and Beyoncé and telling a crowd he would have voted for Donald Trump ― had he voted. On Monday, the rapper canceled the remaining dates on his Saint Pablo tour. A source previously told TMZ that he was “exhausted” and had been “working around the clock on fashion design, both his own line and the Adidas line.”
News of West’s hospitalization broke as his wife, Kim Kardashian, was expected to make her first public appearance since she was robbed in Paris on Oct. 3. The 36-year-old reality star was spotted boarding a private jet early Monday morning and was expected to attend Denise Rich’s Angel Ball in New York City, where her late father, Robert Kardashian, was being honored.
At the Angel Ball, Jenner spoke briefly of her son-in-law, telling Entertainment Tonight, “I think he’s exhausted. Just really tired. It’s a grueling tour.”
But as these days go by let's pray for Kanye West and hope that he recovers mentally.