Kanye West Says He's 'Privileged' After Slavery Comments on TMZ

In his first interview following the release of his album, “ye,” Kanye West sat down with radio host Big Boy to talk about his new music — and the controversy leading up to it.

Using his album, West confirmed he had bipolar disorder, both on the album cover, which reads, “I hate being Bi-Polar. It’s awesome,” and on a track called “Yikes,” where he says bipolar disorder is his superpower, “no disability.”

The album comes after West was criticized for both his support of President Donald Trump, and for comments he said during an interview with TMZ stating that slavery was a choice.

West told Big Boy he redid his whole album after the TMZ interview and acknowledged it was a privilege he could release an album after the comments he made.

I’m so blessed and so privileged because think about people that have mental issues that are not Kanye West. That can’t go and make that, and make it feel like it’s all good. Think about somebody who does exactly what I did on TMZ, and they just do that at work. Tuesday morning they come in and lost their job.

When Big Boy asked how it felt when people couldn’t separate “personal Kanye” from “artist Kanye,” West said this tension brought him energy leading up to the release of his album.

I started getting all this energy. Some say it’s negative, positive. I don’t believe in negative, positives. I just believe in energy and that started coming, and I was like, I know what to do with this. I’m taking all that in. Give me everything you got, I want all the smoke, I want whatever you got. Give it, bring it, you know. I know what to do with the energy.

Although we can’t confirm West is describing mania, it does sound reminiscent of how some Mighty contributors with bipolar disorder have described their experiences. For example, Mighty contributor Likhitha Muralikrishna wrote in a piece called “Mania Through My Eyes“:

I was walking down a street one evening, buzzing with energy. You could literally see sparks fly. I heard strange whispers in my ear. It was my own voice. I sounded different. It sounded like me, but a different version of me. I was the boring girl who woke up every day to go to work, but she wasn’t like that. She woke up every day eager to start an exciting new adventure. That day, she took pity on my boring self. I could see her step out of me and mirror me. It was me, but it was also not me…  It was a new way of looking at things. Why didn’t I ever see the world like this before?

Although bipolar mania is often associated with bursts of creativity — and isn’t inherently bad — some have negative experiences with mania or have devastating crashes afterward. Many with bipolar disorder said they felt West was romanticizing this particular symptom. They also said having bipolar wasn’t an excuse for his questionable comments about slavery and his political views. Less pleasant symptoms of mania include extreme irritability, spending sprees, aggressive behavior and hypersexuality.

One Twitter user shared, “Sure being bipolar is a superpower when you make millions of dollars and face little to no repercussions for the things you say/do, however normal people who are bipolar sometimes can’t sustain relationships, jobs, or normal day to day lives. but keep on glorifying it kanye.”

You can watch the full interview below:


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Bipolar Disorder

Image of Kanye West and his album cover. The cover shows mountains and reads "I hate being bi-polar, it's awesome."

Kanye West Talks About ‘Being Bipolar’ in New Album

Kanye West dropped his new album, “ye,” on Friday after a small launch party in the mountains of Wyoming Thursday night. While fans have speculated about his mental health, West confirmed he has bipolar disorder on his new album. West shot the album cover on his iPhone on the way to the launch party, his [...]
woman sitting on grass under tree reading book during spring

Self-Care Tips to Practice If You Experience ‘Spring Mania’

Spring symbolizes a new beginning. Flowers are in full bloom, the trees are bright green, the grass is covered in morning dew, and the sun is so beautiful and radiant. You wake up and smile because everything feels new. You may have cleaned your apartment or finally replaced the dull and limp flowers in your [...]
close up portrait of woman with short hair resting on hands

Why I Choose to Say ‘I Am Bipolar’

One of the major discussions in the mental health community is how to refer to your diagnosis. Some people say you should always say you have the condition; not that you are the diagnosis. The common rationale for that is that your illness shouldn’t define you. It isn’t who you are. People point out that [...]

How This Real-Life Example Illustrates a Hypomanic Spiral

“Aren’t you happy when you’re hypomanic?” I hear this often and of course the answer is, “no.” Sure, it feels good having that burst of energy that will last for who knows how long. However, and it’s a biggie: I have learned through experience that the roller coaster must come down, hard and fast without [...]