Recently, musical artist Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been in the news with numerous scandals. First, Ye wore a controversial “White Lives Matter” shirt during Paris Fashion Week, which was considered hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Shortly after, Ye made antisemitic comments on Instagram and Twitter that got him banned from both platforms, in which he said that he will go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE”. This was ignorant because “death con” is not a real thing, he was referring to Def. Con. which is the United States military state of alert.
This was a horrible thing to say and it inspired other antisemitic people to make dangerous comments, for example, an antisemitic hate group hung a banner over a California highway that said “Kanye is right about the Jews”. A few days later on an episode of the “Drink Champs” podcast, Ye incorrectly said that George Floyd died because of a fentanyl overdose rather than by the cop who brutally suffocated him. Throughout the month of October, Ye lost major brand deals and partnerships, which included Adidas, Balenciaga and GAP.
Ending all of these partnerships led to Ye losing his billionaire status. Ye is losing everything but when did his downfall truly start?
Kanye West was born June 8, 1977 in Douglasville, Georgia. When he was three years old, his parents divorced and he moved to Chicago with his mother, Donda West, where she raised him alone. Donda nurtured Ye’s creativity and was his biggest supporter, providing emotional and financial support. “My mother was my everything,” West told MTV News in 2005. Donda died from complications following cosmetic surgery on Nov. 10, 2007. Ye took her death extremely hard because he lived to make Donda proud. He dedicated two albums, Donda and Donda 2, to honor his mother’s memory. On July 22, 2021, Kanye had a release for his album at Mercedes Benz stadium, but he was not happy with how it sounded and he wanted it to be better because it was for his mother. Ye ended up living in the stadium for about two weeks, paying a million dollars per day in order to perfect his album before officially releasing it. In Netflix’s jeen-yuhs: A Kanye trilogy, it is evident that Ye lost a sense of purpose after his mother’s death and he never stopped to grieve so he had a lot of emotion built up inside of him. After Donda died there was a shift in his discography from being bright to becoming darker. Many critics of the documentary believe that this period in his life marked his breaking point.
One reason for his erratic behavior was the death of his mother, as well as his struggles with mental health. Ye often speaks out about his experience with bipolar disorder. On his album Ye, the cover is a picture of a mountain with green writing that says “I hate being Bi-Polar it’s awesome,” also on this album he described being bipolar as his “superpower”. Ye often exhibited erratic behaviors before he revealed his diagnosis, for example when he interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards. More of this behavior was seen throughout his unhinged social media rampages, recently one that was targeted at Pete Davidson, who was at the time dating his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Ye threatened Davidson and wrote an extremely harsh song about him. In the documentary, Ye discusses how he has often felt suicidal and that he faces many negative side effects from his medication. When he is on his medications he feels like he is numb and that he loses his artistic abilities. “I already had the house and the wife and the kids and the plaques… but still have moments where I felt, like, suicidal, still have moments where I’m addicted to Percocet without even realizing it,” said Ye in jeen-yuhs. He also spoke about his negative experiences in psychiatric hospitals in the docuseries: “Have you guys ever been, like, locked up in handcuffs and put into a hospital because your brain was too big for your skull?”, said Ye.
An example of Ye’s erratic behavior was seen in his 2020 presidential campaign. He gave an emotional speech saying “I almost killed my daughter,” discussing how he and his then-wife Kim Kardashian considered having an abortion. During his campaign he made some radical comments, for example, he said that slavery was “a choice” and he said that “Harriet Tubman never actually freed slaves.” His campaign obviously was not successful and he ended up having the most luck in Utah where he got just a little less than 0.5% of the vote. He never had a chance of winning because he was not even on the ballot in many states.
Ye’s erratic behavior was also seen in opening up a school, which had to be closed after his racist and antisemitic comments. Earlier in 2022, Ye opened up a Christian private school called Donda Academy in California. The school was never accredited, but still had 100 students enrolled, and all of them had to sign non-disclosure agreements. Some of the classes taught included choir and parkour. The website mentioned nothing about the academics or the facilities, but the tuition was still $15,000 a year.
The school had an elite basketball program that included three of the top fifty recruits in the class of 2023, but they began to be uninvited from many showcases. On Oct. 27, the school announced that it would shut down for the year due to Ye’s recent scandals, but it would restart the following year in September. Top eight-ranked basketball player in the class of 2023 and Kentucky commit Rob Dillingham left Donda Academy and switched over to play at Overtime Elite Basketball after the school was shut down.
Although Ye is now feeling the consequences of his hateful speech, his antisemitic behavior is not just a recent thing. Ye has often told people that he is fascinated with Adolf Hitler and that he was considering naming an album after him. After his antisemitic comments from this year, the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, California, invited him to visit on a private tour, but he rejected the offer “to understand just how words can incite horrific violence and genocides.” West publicly rejected the offer during an episode of “Drink Champs,” and said Planned Parenthoods were “our [Black people’s] Holocaust museum.” Since Ye rejected the invitation, the museum said in a series of tweets that it had received a large number of hateful and threatening messages on social media.