Trevor Noah has no beef with Kanye West, even if the embattled musician/designer says he has beef with him. The soon-to-be former host of The Daily Show told an audience member during a behind-the-scenes Q&A that he still loves Kanye.
“There are a few hip-hop artists who have shaped how I see music,” Noah said. “The punchlines that he had in every single song, it was like listening to comedy — the sketches that he had, he loved standup comedy. His mom’s influence on him, his influence on hip-hop culture, his influence on fashion, how he changed the paradigm. I grew up loving this man. I still love him, despite the sh-t that he talks. And so, for me, it’s not a beef.”
After Noah characterized Ye’s response to ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s relationship as “bullying” on The Daily Show, Ye called him a ‘koon’ in a since-deleted post. But Noah didn’t take it personally, instead expressing concern about Ye’s current mental state.
“I was never beefing with Kanye West,” Noah said, adding that beef has to go both ways. “I was concerned about Kanye West. And genuinely because if somebody says to me, or to anyone, and they say to everyone that when they don’t take their medication, they’re unable to control themselves, and everyone says when that person is having an episode and they haven’t taken their medication, they platform the person, and they put them out, I sometimes think it’s a little shitty, to be honest with you.”
Noah revealed that his grandfather was bipolar and that his family would rally around him when he had an episode. He says that while he can’t say Kanye is bipolar (though Kanye himself has admitted that he’s been diagnosed) that he finds it problematic that people are interacting with West when it looks like his behavior suggests he’s going through a mental health crisis.
“I don’t have beef with a human being who has expressed openly that they’re dealing with a mental health issue,” he said. “I don’t have beef with that human being. What I have beef with is, as a society, not coming together around a person and going like, ‘Hey, hey, hey, maybe this is not the moment to put a microphone in your face so that you just go off saying everything. If this is what you wanna say when you’re on your medication, then that’s a different story. But because you’ve told us that, I’m not gonna sit by and say that.”
Noah’s observation does have a precedent in pop culture. We’ve seen celebrities from Britney Spears to Amy Winehouse to Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston struggle with mental health and/or substance abuse and look on and criticize or point fingers, until, in the most extreme instances, the person succumbs to those demons. Noah says that’s not what he wants to see happen and that he vows not to be one of those people.
“I’ve promised myself, I’ll never be the person who just sits by and gleefully says things about people that I care about and then also joins the group of mourners afterward and acts like I wasn’t part of it. Too many people like to mourn you when you’re dead, and they don’t say anything to you when you’re alive.”
In recent days in light of Ye’s antisemitic remarks, and his other public controversies, Balenciaga has joined the corporations that have ended their relationships with him. JP Morgan Chase has also said they will end their banking relationship. One notable exception is the German-based company Adidas, which has made millions from the highly-successful Yeezy brand in partnership with Ye. Despite the pressure, all Adidas has said is that they are “reviewing their relationship with West.”
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