I am Jewish, as my mother is Jewish (she’s white). I am also black, as my father is black. Although sometimes strangers like to tell me I’m not “black enough” to say the word nigga. I am also an accomplished musician that was diagnosed bipolar type 1 about a decade ago.
I'm giving context to my not-so-black-and-white opinions, my deep understanding of the pain inflicted by Ye’s words (and their effects in real life), but also my understanding of his plight and his mind.
Friends, it is possible to exist in both a space of disgust AND understanding.
I’ll always share my opinions, even if they are unpopular - as unpopular opinions are often the only ones that push our world forward.
Not that anyone asked, but my personal aversion to Ye is his arrogance. He is knowingly brilliant, yet wildly untethered and unsophisticated in interviews. Bipolar disorder does not make you an asshole. This has nothing to do with mental illness.
I try my best not to birth my opinions from groupthink - mainstream media - hearsay. All I can do is base my opinions of Ye on what I hear him say, from his own mouth, or from what friends of mine who know him say. I saw the shirt, I saw the tweet, and then I researched.
After watching Ye's Drink Champs and Piers Morgan interviews in FULL (I say FULL in caps for a reason that need not be explained) - I'd just like to note, as a "high IQ" bipolar person myself, he is not manic or 'crazy'. I've been hospitalized five times for manic episodes, and while everyone's mania presents slightly differently - I know what it looks like, feels like, and tastes like to be in a full blown manic episode... and Ye is in control of his mind at time of writing.
Whether he calls his neuro-chemical differences an ‘illness’ or not is irrelevant for this entire conversation, he is not currently ill. (I personally don’t associate with bipolar being an illness myself, so I get it).
Ye is extremely bright. But just as no one reading this is only one thing - he is also brutally offensive, comically manipulative, and dangerously influential. That is a frightening combo in the world we live in. He's high-risk, but I don't hate him.
I write this to give context, which is something Ye fights for in his interviews. Context. I will not demonize my friends for not making the time to watch 4 hours worth of interviews in an afternoon. I’m single, no kids, no 9 to 5, so I actually can make time to watch interviews in FULL and do my own research and form my OWN opinions on topics that interest me.
And while I will not demonize my friends for not watching interviews in full, I will ask that they take a few more seconds (even just 30) to think for themselves rather than jump on headline bandwagons.
Let’s state some facts:
Ye has more life experience, more money (even with the Adidas loss), and is more influential than anyone reading this right now. Does that excuse his behavior according to our society’s morals? Absolutely not.
But how could we possibly relate to him? That's why it’s fascinating. That’s why we watch. That’s why we’re enraged.
I will say this… you cannot make a difference in the world and be agreeable. I think we can all agree that Ye is anything but agreeable.
I think as a person of influence you have an unspoken responsibility to cultivate a healthy balance of speaking your truth and also being respectful with its delivery. Not everyone will be happy with your truth, no matter how it's delivered, but at least the effort shows humility. That is where I believe Ye has failed, over and over again.
Not every interview, tweet, or conversation will be perfectly crafted to be palatable to the masses. Most won't be. But such is life. That being said, it is a leader’s dedication to grow themselves and grow their leadership faculties that makes them a more lasting inspiration to the world. I think that is where Ye has failed. Can someone get him a media trainer that semi-understands him and can help him run through his talking points? Ah- that’s right, he doesn't have the infrastucture or support that most high-networth individuals have. Thus, I have compassion.
It’s hard being the smartest person in the room (even if only by your own perception). I’m sure it's even harder being one of the smartest, richest, most renowned, black men in the world. I can't imagine.
But you cannot simply "be a genius" and think that’s enough to lead people effectively. Running on genius alone is quite literally stupid, or as Ye would politically incorrectly say, “retarded." Thus, 2024 scares me.
On a lighter note, Ye has influence because he listens to his own voice. That’s something to be admired. Or at least, I admire that about him. I can relate to that. (Hey guys! Remember… it’s okay to admire things about someone you don’t always agree with).
All that being said… this is a complex socio-political issue that cannot be properly de-escalated via social media stories, carousels, soundbites, headlines, or this letter. Yet as a Jewish, black, bipolar person in the entertainment business (and human) I felt a need to write it - at least for myself.
I'll be praying for Ye as I pray for the world, and focusing on the safe space I’m building within my own community.