Talk Back

An Open Letter to Kanye West

Everyone loves to claim they are their brother’s keeper until it’s time to be your brother’s keeper. Well… I am my brother’s keeper.

Dear Kanye,

Isn’t it funny how in one day, millions of people on social media have obtained Ph.D’s and are experts on mental illness, disorders, anger management, grief, and depression? It’s just so damn astounding. I mean, who knew the world was so full of healers?! (insert sarcasm).

I also find it amazing how people who do not know you, have never had a conversation with you, and have never even met you are able to diagnose or comment on your every move as if they are experts on, The Life and Times of Kanye West. That in itself is the purest of ridiculousness. Especially when folks should actually be working on their own painful pasts and pathologies, rather than highlighting their own interpretation of yours; but I digress.

You deal with things that few of us would be able to handle on a daily basis. At this point, I bet the sound of cameras flashing is a trigger. I bet it’s hard to hear the voice of your daughter with strangers always yelling your name simultaneously everywhere you go. It must be tiresome never knowing if someone means you well or is just trying to get something out of you with every encounter. Your skin has been made “Windy City” tough, despite the sensitive soul it protects. It must be hard existing in this place—this world—and even harder being you.

In all honesty, I don’t care about anything you may or may not have said recently being blasted all over the headlines. I don’t care about your need to cancel concerts or the fake outrage people have who are upset (as if they’ve never called in to work and needed some damn days off for family, health, or personal reasons). F*** them.

I care about you. I care about the fact that we know November is a very hard time of year for you and the pain of losing your mother may still affect you. I care about the pain and stress that comes with feeling like you can’t protect the ones you love no matter how much money you may have. As someone who has had a partner held at gunpoint before, I care about the fact that your wife may still be traumatized by what happened to her and those are things that can affect a relationship and household as well.

I doubt anyone actually gets “used to” the millions of incessantly negative comments, jokes, memes and discussions about themselves (by strangers and even people who know you), but I need you to know there is a legion of us out here who love you and want to see you happy, healthy, and your best self. Even if it means you saying, “To hell with it all,” never made another album or appearance, and went into seclusion just to have some damn peace and quiet from this world and focus on your family. You have every right to do whatever you need for yourself to be in a good place. You don’t owe any of us and all I care about is that you are okay.

We may know who you are because of your artistic work and endeavors, but that is not why I care for you—cause fam, I ain’t never going for those sweater’s with the holes in em.’  However, I care for you because I see a member of my community hurting.  I see a recognizable pain that many of us can identify with. I see you as family and you don’t turn your back on family when they are in despair. You belong to us. You are our brother and we love you because you matter.

I am rooting for you Kanye. I am praying for your family, your health, and your protection. I will encourage others to lift you up, and I hope you are able to tap into the frequency of those who only wish you well. And support your healing. Whether you know us personally or not, we are here, and we are here for you because you are ours to protect. You are still our brother from the South side.