[FEATURE] MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT A MEME

Features

Mental illness is not exactly uncommon. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and mental illness makes up 28% of all diseases in the world – the biggest by far. Going by this, several people you know will have suffered with a mental illness. It could be your mother, your brother, your cousin or your best friend. It could even be you. So why are we so insensitive when it comes to celebrities and mental health?

Recently, Kanye West announced he had cancelled an upcoming tour for undisclosed reasons – undisclosed until it was reported he’d been rushed into hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Since then, more details have emerged: a combination of sleep deprivation and a robbery involving his wife Kim Kardashian in Paris a month previous has left him ‘shaken and paranoid’.

It’s a serious matter, but some reactions to the entire situation are disgusting. First, we need to look at the Paris robbery: why do people think this is funny? The Kardashians are not the public’s favourite family, granted, but this doesn’t change the fact that Kim Kardashian is a mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife. Nobody deserves to be held at gunpoint. ‘But she flaunts her wealth!’ you cry. Yes, her life revolves around social media and marketing herself, but I’ve seen sixteen year olds from small towns flaunting their new Pandora ring or brag about their iPhone upgrade on Snapchat too many times to count. Pot, kettle, anyone?

A gunpoint robbery is a traumatic experience for anyone. It’s not about the jewellery that was stolen, or the amount of money received from insurance. A robbery takes material items, but it gives you something too: pure fear and a need to look over your shoulder constantly. Imagine if that happened to someone you loved, if it was your wife that was threatened. Would you laugh it off, say she deserved it? Or would you say that it’s okay, because she can afford it anyway? No, you’d be angry, you’d be terrified and you’d feel guilty and that’s probably how West is feeling right now.

So why should we act like his mental problems are a joke? A meme is currently doing the rounds on Facebook, comparing West to the late Lemmy:

so-39-year-old-kanye-west-has-cancelled-a-tour-7321276

You’ve probably seen it. You probably read it, agreed and laughed it off, because this doesn’t tell you the true extent of West’s problems. And anyway, since when is it acceptable to one up each other using health issues? I personally don’t think these two situations are even comparable – mental health and physical health are two vastly different worlds with their own consequences, and everyone uses a different coping mechanism with their own issues so why do we feel the need to judge others?

But it’s not just Kanye West that has publicly faced mental health problems. At the start of the year, Justin Bieber controversially cancelled all booked meet and greets, with a statement on Instagram claiming that he feels “mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression” after meeting fans. In this statement, he also addresses the exhaustion of having to meet people’s expectations. It’s all very valid, and fans seemed to agree with most comments showing nothing but support for the singer. But most negative comments seemed to come from those who aren’t even a fan – people claiming that he owes it to his followers, and once again comparing him to other celebrities.

Justin Bieber is well known, that much is obvious. He has a massive following, which is made up mostly of young girls who look up to him. He’s something of a role model, and to have to play that act on the days you’re feeling a bit off must be tiring to say the least. There’s also the reports that fans have previously pulled his hair, torn his clothes and purposely made him ill, so it’s clear that it’s not worth risking his safety, let alone his health.

And then there’s Zayn Malik, one time member of boyband One Direction. In September, he announced that he would be pulling out of a concert in Dubai due to “extreme anxiety around major live solo performances”. Once again, this is very valid but fans were left fuming. It’s a totally different process, playing a show by yourself vs. with a group, and more so because Malik is used to performing with four other men. In an interview with ES magazine, he said “I speak about [my anxiety] so that people don’t understand it doesn’t matter what level of success you have, where you’re from, what sex you are, what you do”.

It’s important that celebrities address these issues. Not only does it bring a better sense of understanding to mental illness, but it also removes the stigma surrounding it one person at a time. Mental health is not a joke, it’s not something to be mocked or laughed at. You wouldn’t make cancer the punch line, so why make it depression?

This is the way I see it: fans are not entitled to anything. They’re not entitled to a tour or a meet and greet because they bought an album. And when they say, ‘well, this artist shared their music with the world, they know what was going to happen’, I say you didn’t have to buy the album, you don’t have to listen to that music. The public does not dictate a celebrities’ life, and we seem to forget that those in the limelight are human too. They all have feelings and friends and family, and they deserve their rights to good health and wellbeing as much as the rest of us do.

Artists should not be stripped of their human rights because they shared their art. They didn’t have to, but they did, and because of that we get to enjoy it so we should all, at the very least, be thankful for that.

 

Words by Lucy Wenham

[NEWS] KANYE WEST REVEALS SWISH TRACKLISTING

News

As the release date for SWISH gradually gets closer and closer, Kanye West has decided to reveal to his eager fans the highly anticipated tracklisting to his 7th studio album.

There’s been a lot of speculation recently about whether Kanye will in fact follow through with his promise of a Feb 11th release for his album SWISH, after a year of broken promises and false hope, but with this tracklisting posted directly from his Twitter, it seems that he’s going to actually follow through with his release promise.

Read bellow the tracklisting:

  1. Nina Chop
  2. Father Stretch My Hands
  3. Waves
  4. High Lights
  5. 30 Hours
  6. No More Parties In L.A.
  7. Fade
  8. FML
  9. Real Friends
  10. Wolves

It’s quite the interesting tracklisting full of intriguing titles and anticipation. The first thing core fans may notice is the lack of appearance from All Day and Only One, the only two songs Kanye had released officially last year.  Other previewed songs such as Wolves and Fade, which premiered at his ADIDAS fashion show, have made the tracklisting.

Kanye self described this album as the “greatest album of all time” whether this statement is true or not will not be decided until Feb 11th, one thing we can’t deny is that this album has been highly anticipated for over a year now and the excitement is completely justified. Bring on SWISH, it’s about time.

Words by Connor Spilsbury-Brown

[NEWS] KANYE WEST CONFIRMS SWISH RELEASE DATE

News

Professional bother-er and electoral candidate Kanye West has finally confirmed the release of SWISH (previously So Help Me God), announcing the revival of his weekly G.O.O.D Friday grat-tracking alongside the LP.

The news of Yeezy record has been floating around the internet since all the way back in March, with West himself taking to Twitter to confirm a February 11th release date. No track list has appeared yet; Wolves, All Day, Facts and Only One are all set to crop up.

The first in the G.O.O.D Friday revival has come in the form of Real Friends / No More Parties In L.A, the later featuring Kendrick Lamar on guest verse duties, marking West’s mellowest effort since his 808’s and Heartbreak effort.

Stream Real Friends / No More Parties In L.A below.

https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/real-friends-no-more-parties-in-la-snipped

Words by Bill Baker

[ALBUM REVIEW] RAURY – ALL WE NEED

Music Reviews

Raury’s debut offering is finally upon us in the form of All We Need.

 Although this isn’t the first body of work he has offered – he had his free project Indigo Child, which contained God’s Whisper and Cigarette Song – this new release gives Raury his first official release since signing to Columbia Records.

Since appearing on the scene just over a year ago, he’s gained a strong loyal following from fans, dubbed “Indigo Children”, and praise from big names such as Kanye West, Andrè 3000 and Lauryn Hill; the buzz behind this 18-year-old Atlanta born crooner is not something to look over.

The album opens up with the title track, which gives quite a suspenseful opening, which then transitions into a blissful guitar driven backing, with Raury reciting: “Who can save the world, my friend?”. The final verse of this song is what stands out about this track though as it really sets the tone for what this album is going to contain. There is a consistent theme of the American corruption, his love life and what the future holds for this current generation growing up – ‘Soon as we learn to speak we begin our career as actors, always agreein’ with things we’re told to believe in”.

The album is mainly driven by his trusty guitar, but also has moments of some quite impressive production work – whether it’s CPU, featuring Wu-Tang legend RZA, which is very reminiscent of Kanye’s 808 album with the vocal reverb and the simplistic production, keeping the track yet simple but leaving such an atmospheric feel after listening. Another stand out track – not just in terms of production, but just in general in terms of the album – is the lead single Devil’s Whisper for that anthem level chant throughout the song “You better run for the devil” and for the final section of the song, when it becomes less tribal and has a heavy beat switch accompanied by Raury laying down some heat-of-the-moment lyrics like “I’m not trying to be a preacher, I was never a reverend, but I can take your ass to church and show you glimpses of heaven.”

Overall, Raury has really delivered something here in terms of a body of work. The album has a really raw feel – not just in terms of lyrics, as he really opens up in this album – but in terms of sound. It’s very personal, lyrics are definitely a strong focus throughout, and he brings in an Andrè 3000 vibe in terms of lyrical delivery and content. It’s not the strongest debut, but one things for sure there’s longevity in this and his heart is 100% there, the dedication is there and this indigo child is going to be in the main game for a long time to come. This is only the start for Raury.

7.5/10

Listen to Devil’s Whisper below:

Words by Connor Spilsbury-Brown