Earlier this week I started writing a piece going in on Kanye and other entertainers because I don’t like how they’ve been acting lately. Their behavior is sending the wrong message to our kids and overall, it’s just messy. Those thoughts are still coming but right now, I need to take a pause for the cause and send a hug to my brother, Ye.

I’ll start here.

Chicagoans are very proud people. We live in one of the most beautiful but also treacherous cities in the world. Kanye even displayed it in one of his freestlyes: “Chi-Town, southside, worldwide cuz I rep that till I fuckin’ die…but two words–Chi-Town raised me, crazy. Plus I got a whole city to hold down. From the bottom, so the top’s the only place to go now.” 

We go hard for this city and it sometimes goes hard against us–that’s where the pride comes from.

We’re definitely arrogant in reppin’ and defending our hometown, and we’re extra protective over our fellow Chicagoans. An example of that protection is R. Kelly

kim and kanye
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West with their children | CREDIT: KIM KARDASHIAN/INSTAGRAM

Grace for Kanye?

To be honest, Chicago was and still is torn over the Kells situation. He’s loved and everyone acknowledges that he’s a musical genius. Some of us see him as a predator while others see him as a celebrity doing what celebrities have the power to do–no harm, no foul. 

But the facts are, people were taken advantage of and harmed, caught up in and perpetuated a cycle of trauma for which they ultimately have to be held accountable for and hopefully, heal from. At the end of the day, we can only pray that they receive the help they need to overcome their struggles.

And in that same vein, we’re struggling with what’s going on with Kanye.

We live in a world that condemns and ridicules men – especially Black men – for being vulnerable. So much so to the point where they often suppress their emotions because expressing them would be a sign of weakness. But those emotions manifest in different ways and if they’re negative, can come out in the forms of chaos and instability. And that suppression, chaos and instability inhibit joy.

New Ye documentary reveals a lot

What stopped me from going in on Ye was his new Netflix documentary, jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, from which I noticed a change.

I first heard of and saw Kanye when he performed at my high school’s talent show back in the early 2000’s. So in a way, I grew up with him. His “College Dropout” album was clutch when I was in college–it was light, witty, relatable and raw. Now, his music – while still raw – is kind of dark and laced with so many metaphors that you’d damn near have to ask Kanye himself what he meant to understand them.

In the documentary, his passion came through so hard in his words it was bone chilling. You could see his tenacity and feel his joy early in his stardom. I would say the tenacity is still there but the joy has waned.

No doubt Kanye has done some questionable sh*t throughout his career. Reppin’ for MAGA and rockin’ with Trump. Saying slavery was a choice. And add to the list, publicly harassing his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian.

I’m definitely not making excuses for his behavior and I absolutely believe he should be held accountable. In fact, we should have Kim’s whole back in this matter. And real talk, if he was “regular” Kanye, still living in South Shore and doing this to a woman, he’d probably be sitting in Cook County Jail.

Trauma shows itself in different ways

But, I am taking into consideration childhood trauma, the inability to be vulnerable – especially in the public eye –  and loss of joy. Feeling pressure to subscribe to expectations and navigating the dangers of being a Black man.

A devastating car accident that could’ve crushed his dreams and losing the most important person in his life, his mother Donda. I’m willing to bet Kanye has abandonment issues from that loss alone, and they’re probably triggering his inappropriate behavior towards Kim.

We don’t know if or when Kanye will admit that he needs help, but we all know he does. And I know that we’ve given him many chances to get his sh*t together–probably more than the average man. But I’m hoping that we recognize these cries for help and proceed with compassion instead of immediate criticism because he’s clearly spiraling out of control. 

I hope that we extend that grace – along with accountability – to all of the people in our lives going through it.  

In that same freestyle I mentioned above Kanye said, “Screamin’, ‘Jesus, save me!’ You know how the game be. I can’t let em change me cuz on judgment day, you go blame me. Look, God, it’s the same me.” If nobody else hears you, Yeezy, I do. 

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...