Charlamagne, the New York Times radio host was scheduled to talk to rapper Kanye West about the struggles on mental health, but on Monday the radio host wrote on Instagram that the discussion would be a “total distraction.” The talk was slated for Oct. 17th in New York, but Charlamagne wrote that though he “really wanted to have” the conversation with West, it “would not be productive” right now.
The radio host wrote on Instagram saying, “Normalizing being mentally healthy is a conversation that I really wanted to have with Kanye because he’s been so vocal about his own mental health struggles. Unfortunately I think to have that conversation with him right now would not be productive and a total distraction from the point of the convo which is to eradicate the stigma of mental health especially in the black community.”
Both men have been very vocal and open about their struggles with mental health. And many celebrities have been addressing the issue considering the fact that it is a matter that is still heavily stigmatized within the African-American community.
In May, a Men’s Health essay published the radio host’s narration of his experience of struggling with anxiety at a young age. In the publication he said, “I have had anxiety literally my whole life. When you’re young and running the streets, you think all of that paranoia and anxiousness comes with the territory. As you get older, when you’re damn near 40, and life is good and you still have those feelings…that’s when you know something is wrong.”
“Black men, we have so much trauma. We constantly deal with anxiety. If you grew up in the hood, you’re going to have some sort of trauma, PTSD. But nobody is trying to sit black men down and treat us. Immediately, therapists want to put us on medicine. They want to put us on Ritalin or some type of pill that’s going to suppress us or numb us,” he said.
He urged black men to see the therapist saying, “I think black men especially should go to therapy and seek out mental help because we need it. Even if you don’t think you need it, we need it. I walked into Walgreens the other day and it’s by a school, so a lot of kids in there shoplift. I walk in and I felt eyes on me. I’m just going in to get some protein powder!”
West opened up about his 2016 hospitalization during an interview with Charlamagne in April, and is reported to have said, “Being in competition with so many elements at one time. On a race against time, your age, you’re getting old, race against popularity on the radio.”
The cancellation comes after West’s visit of Trump, which has raised a lot of eyebrows. And speaking to MSNBC, Charlamagne said regarding that meeting, “Kanye West does not represent all black people.”