Inside Kanye West’s controversial summer of 2020
In recent years, Kanye West’s mental state has been put under a microscope by the tabloids — from that infamous VMAs moment with Taylor Swift way back in 2009 to the more recent TMZ interview where claimed slavery was a choice. In 2016, the star was placed in a psychiatric hold, and it was later revealed that he suffered from bipolar disorder.
In the past, Ye’s called his mental illness a “superpower” that helps him access his creativity, and he’s not necessarily wrong. He’s genuinely regarded as one of our time’s most prolific rappers, and he’s overcome a great deal to get there. Remember: this is the same guy that recorded his debut single with his mouth wired shut after breaking his jaw in a car accident.
Still, the summer of 2020 — which has been a whirlwind of pandemonium for most citizens of Earth — seems to be particularly chaotic for the rapper. In late June, West released his emotional single “Wash Us in the Blood,” a Travis Scott collaboration that served as an eye-opening battle cry against systemic racism in the United States. It’s been widely praised as one of the singer’s most masterful works, but just a couple of weeks later, things appeared to be spiraling into disarray as the former Donald Trump supporter announced his presidential bid. Here’s a look inside West’s controversial summer.
Kanye West announced his presidential campaign on July 4th
In a bewildering move for the longtime Donald Trump supporter, Kanye West celebrated the Fourth of July by announcing his presidential bid to over 30 million Twitter followers. Though the star seemingly missed the window to appear on the ballot in states like South Carolina and Florida and tabloids massively speculated about the validity of his campaign, it did seem like an earnest move.
With the full support of Elon Musk, the star filed two sets of documents with the Federal Election Commission in the following weeks. According to TMZ, first came his Statement of Organization, which cemented Kanye 2020 as his official campaign committee, and second was a Statement of Candidacy, which proved he raised or spent more than $5,000 on his campaign. That pushed him over the minimum threshold of federal campaign law, and his candidacy became official. The star, who was described by Al Jazeera as having a “Republican-leaning, pro-Black religious platform,” listed his party as BDY, or Birthday Party.
To make things even more official, Madame Tussauds made a presidential bust of the rapper. According to TMZ, the wax museum has an Oval Office exhibit that displays clay sculptures of the nation’s leaders. A sculpture of Donald Trump’s head was put on display before he won the election. Kanye appears to be the next hopeful.
He delivered a tear-filled speech during his first campaign rally
On July 19, Kanye West held his first campaign rally at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston, South Carolina. This was a seeming effort to drum up support in the state, but he ultimately missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot. According to Politico, he failed to submit a petition with 10,000 signatures by the deadline, which was the following day at noon.
West’s rally appeared to be thrown together in the 11th hour. It was only discovered by Politico the day prior, and TMZ reports that it was “unorganized and rowdy.” The star didn’t have a podium or a microphone, and the crowd was packed “right up in his face,” though guests were required to wear masks, social distance, and sign a COVID-19 liability form.
At the rally, the rapper delivered a controversial monologue where he claimed that Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people” (via TMZ). That noticeably displeased the crowd. The rapper also tearfully claimed he almost aborted his eldest daughter North West, much like his father allegedly wanted to abort him. He planned to discourage the practice of abortion by giving everyone that has a baby “a million dollars,” and also claimed his wife might divorce him for the candid speech. TMZ described the chaotic event as a “shouting match” between West and the crowd.
Kanye West tried to enlist Jay-Z as his running mate
Jay-Z and Kanye West haven’t exactly had the warmest relationship in recent years if West’s 2016 rant about the 4:44 singer wasn’t already an indicator. Jay-Z even admitted to The New York Times’ T Magazine that the pair have a “complicated relationship.” Nonetheless, Kanye reportedly wanted his former bestie to join his presidential campaign.
In an interview with Kris Kaylin, the “Saint Pablo” singer revealed that he wanted Jay-Z to join his ticket as Vice President, an idea that was sparked after realizing the initials for Sean Carter were the same as South Carolina, where he held his rally. Unfortunately, he hadn’t talked to Jay in a while. “I look at the codes, I look at the signs,” West said. “The fact that we ain’t talked in so long, that’s how you know we real brothers.”
West already enlisted Wyoming-based preacher Michelle Tidball for the gig, but she was reportedly willing to take a different position if another running mate came along.
He claimed Kim Kardashian was trying to lock him up in a mental institution
It seems like Kayne West has been holed up in his Wyoming ranch away from the Kardashian’s Calabasas HQ — and according to him, his family is worried. The day after the star delivered his rambling, tear-filled speech in South Carolina, he went on a concerning tweetstorm, where he claimed that Kim Kardashian was trying to have him committed to a mental institution because he revealed that the pair considered aborting their first child.
“Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughters life yesterday,” he said in a now-deleted tweet (via People). “If I get locked up like Mandela Ya’ll will know why,” he continued, further adding, “Everybody knows the movie get out is about me” and “Kim tried to bring a doctor to lock me up with a doctor.”
The rapper then urged his wife and mother-in-law to call him. He claimed the pair was avoiding his calls.
Kanye West inked a deal with Gap, then threatened to walk away
According to The New York Times, Kanye West inked a lucrative 10-year partnership with Gap, which was revealed in late June. His co-branded line, Yeezy Gap, is set to hit stores sometime in 2021, and he gave his followers a first look at the duds shortly before his campaign rally. Two days later, it looked like the singer was ready to rip up his contract.
According to CNN, West claimed during his rally that he was going to “walk away” from his brand partnerships with both Gap and Adidas if they didn’t allow him on the board of directors. Gap’s stock subsequently dropped by almost 6%. The clothing line also seemed to be a point of contention during his Monday tweetstorm.
According to People, West claimed that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour “always showed [him] love” but “looked at [him] like [he] was crazy” when he told her about the Gap deal. She reportedly “called back kissing [his] a**.” He also slammed Shia LaBeouf for allegedly ditching out on a scheduled photo shoot for the line. “Shia is cap,” he wrote, meaning liar or faker.
Kanye West claimed he's been seeking a divorce
Shortly after Kanye West’s initial headline-grabbing Twitter rant, he was back on the social network with additional concerning claims. This time he alleged that he had been trying to divorce Kim Kardashian — who he married in 2014 — for nearly two years. According to People, who captured the tweets before they were deleted, the trouble reportedly began when the reality star attended a criminal justice summit in November 2018, where she met with rapper Meek Mill.
“I’ve been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf for ‘prison reform,'” West wrote, adding, “Meek is my man and was respectful That’s my dog Kim was out of line I’m worth 5 billion dollars and more than that through Christ But ya’ll ain’t listen to MJ and now ya’ll believe them???”
Of course, West’s comments did nothing but stoke the tabloids, who claimed his wife was meeting with divorce lawyers, and that the pair were intentionally spending time apart. According to TMZ, Meek Mill also seemingly subtweeted the rapper and denied any alleged affair. “S**t is cappp cmon ….” he wrote. In other words: fake news.
He slammed Kris Jenner's parenting, dubbed her 'Kris Jong-Un'
During West’s pair of Twitter rants, the star took a very pointed aim at his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner. According to reports from Newsweek and People, who captured the tweets before they were deleted, the Life of Pablo singer slammed the momager’s parenting style and dubbed her Kris Jong-Un, a reference to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
“I put my life on the line for my children that North’s mother would never sell her sex [tape],” he reportedly tweeted (via People), adding, “I put my life on my God that Norths mom would never photograph her doing playboy and that’s on God I’m at the ranch … come and get me.”
These tweets were clearly referencing Kim Kardashian’s infamous leaked video with former boyfriend Ray J and her 2007 Playboy cover shoot, which was documented on Keeping Up With The Kardashians and later launched Jenner’s widespread “You’re doing amazing sweetie” meme.
In separate tweets, West claimed Jenner and her partner Corey Gamble — who he dubbed “Calmye” — were not allowed around his children. He also shared a screenshot of a text he sent Jenner, asking if she wanted to talk or go to war. In a separate, all-caps tweet, he wrote, “ALL POSITIVITY WHEN THE DEVIL ATTACKS. EVEN IF I NEVER SEE MY KIDS TILL THEY ARE 18 CAUSE YOU BELIEVE WHITE PEOPLE. ON GOD NORTH WITH NEVER BE EXPLOITED BY THE SYSTEM OF WHITE SUPREMACY.”
Harriet Tubman's great-great-great niece gave Kanye West a mouthful
Kanye West didn’t just sink Gap’s stock with his campaign rally. He seriously outraged Harriet Tubman’s great-great-great niece, Tina Wyatt, with his comments about the Underground Railroad conductor. As stated earlier, the Jesus Is King rapper claimed that Tubman — who Politico dubbed “one of the most respected figures of 19th century America” — actually aided in the oppression of Black people. It was a brief flashback to the disastrous TMZ interview where he claimed that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice.”
“… What he needs to understand, if it weren’t for people like Aunt Harriet — especially her because she was selfless. She was already free. She didn’t have to come back. She didn’t have to risk her life, but she did it countless times,” Wyatt told TMZ. “And if it hadn’t been for people like her, he would still be on that plantation. He would not be able to be out there and saying the things he says, and he wouldn’t have the money he has because they would have it all.”
Wyatt then urged the rapper to invest his money into things that would uplift other people. “Him trying to be, running to be president, is not one of them,” she said.
Dave Chappelle flew to Kanye West's side to see him "doing well"
The day after Kanye West claimed Kim Kardashian was trying to have him involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, comedian Dave Chappelle stopped by the rapper’s Wyoming ranch. Indeed, we get by with a little help from our friends. This came as tabloid rumors swirled about the state of West’s marriage and mental health.
In a tweet, West claimed Chappelle was a “god send and a true friend” for “hopping on a jet to come see me doing well.” He also shared a clip of himself standing alongside the comedian and some friends. “Please just make us smile. The world needs some, you know, we need some joy,” West told the Comedy Central star. “Brotherhood is real, love is real,” Chappelle replied.
This wasn’t enough for West, who wanted an actual joke, but Chappelle struggled. “S**t, I don’t know. I’m still on my first cup of coffee,” he admitted. The video, albeit a little awkward, because West would not relent, and Chappelle was drawing a blank, was a tiny sigh of relief for fans. It was confirmation that — in the very least — Ye wasn’t holed up by himself.
Kanye West announced his new album
The same Tuesday that Kanye West hung out with Dave Chapelle and claimed he’d been trying to divorce his reality star wife, the singer also revealed plans to drop new music. In a late-night tweet, the rapper announced that his 10th studio album, Donda: With Child, will be released alongside a film on Friday. The name is a nod to his late mother, who passed away in 2007.
Ye gave fans a preview of what to expect by posting what appears to be various tracklists and a collection of file names that presumably belong to the album’s 12 tracks. According to Pitchfork, his recent single “Wash Us in the Blood” is notably absent, but the LP will include “New Body,” which was originally cut from Jesus Is King and features Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. It also will include “God’s Country,” which was meant to be the original title track, and “Donda,” which the rapper initially released in honor of his mother’s would-be birthday in June.
Per Pitchfork’s report, West has a habit of changing titles ahead of his releases. The Life of Pablo was once called SWISH and Waves. Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was first called Good A** Job. Whether or not Donda will stick remains to be seen.
Kim Kardashian finally speaks up about Kanye West's mental illness
Though the tabloids have been hyper-focused on West’s chaotic actions for the better part of July, Kim Kardashian has remained virtually silent. On Wednesday, Kardashian finally spoke out in an attempt to dispel the “stigma and misconceptions” about her husband’s bipolar diagnosis. In an Instagram Story captured by TMZ, the reality star admitted that she’s never previously revealed how her husband’s mental health affected the couple at home.
“He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with his intentions,” she wrote (via TMZ), adding, “Living with bipolar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some. That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his big dreams have come true.”
Kim also admitted that families cannot force loved ones into treatment unless they’re minors. As she put it, “the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help.”
If you are struggling with mental health, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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