Kanye West, one of the most influential musicians of our time, has been making plenty of headlines lately, but not for his artistry. From publicly threatening ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s boyfriends to declaring his love for Adolf Hitler, the world has watched in concern as Kanye West displayed increasingly erratic and disturbing behavior.
His antics have also made people wonder: Could a conservatorship be the answer to saving Kanye West from himself?
From Crashing the VMAs To Sympathizing With the Nazis, Kanye’s Behavior Has Always Been Alarming
In case you haven’t been paying attention, Kanye West has always behaved unpredictably. Apart from social media, awards shows have been the rapper’s favorite place to have an outburst. In 2006, he crashed the stage of the MTV Europe Awards to rant about losing the Best Video category to Justice vs. Simian. “If I don’t win, the show loses credibility,” he claimed bitterly.
The following year, Kanye acted like a sore loser again at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards after not winning the categories he was nominated for. He declared that he would “never return to MTV”, a promise he broke two years later. In the 2009 VMAs, Kanye made headlines yet again. This time it was because he stormed the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift’s acceptance of Best Female Music Video of the Year.
“Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you. I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” This infamous pop culture moment launched a decade-long feud between the two artists.
Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t safe from Kanye West’s controversial outbursts. It seems the artist, who had his name legally changed to Ye last year citing personal reasons, loves going off when there’s an audience. He’s started several online feuds with other musicians like Billie Eilish and, most notably, his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. He publicly slammed Kardashian for various reasons, from the way she raised their children to the men she dated after their divorce. His Eazy music video even depicted the artist decapitating Pete Davidson, who dated his ex-wife for nine months.
That said, his most problematic and hurtful antics came during his most recent interview appearances wherein he expressed antisemitic views. Kanye West, who made a presidential bid in 2020 (and has stated his intention to run for office in 2024), said, “I love Jewish people but I also love Nazis.”
He sympathized with Nazis and Hitler during his December 1 interview on The Alex Jones Show. “The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world,” he explained. He kept saying he loved Hitler to the point that Alex Jones, one of the most controversial far-right figures, looked uncomfortable and stopped the musician from explaining himself any further.
As provocative as his comments were, Kanye West has always sided with unpopular, dangerous, and conspiratorial opinions. And he isn’t shy to express them. In the past, he explained that slavery was a “choice”, and claimed Harriett Tubman wasn’t instrumental in freeing enslaved Black people. The Stronger singer was also criticized after wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt during a Yeezy fashion show. And most recently, Kanye had a falling out with Donald Trump, whom he vehemently supported during his 2018 campaign.
Why a Conservatorship May Not Happen for Ye, Like It Did for Britney Spears
Due to his most recent troubling comments and actions, many people are seriously worried for Kanye West. For the longest time, fans have excused his actions in part because they considered him a genius, and in part, because he is mentally ill.
Kanye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016, a mental illness he struggled to accept according to his ex-wife. She broke her silence about living with Kanye in an Instagram story, explaining, “He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder.” She added, “That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his big dreams have come true.”
There’s certainly a stigma around mental illness, especially in influential public figures. But we simply have reached a wall when it comes to explaining Kanye West’s erratic behavior as a symptom of his disorder. Others have wondered if a conservatorship is the help Kanye West needs.
A conservatorship is a court order in which a person, called a conservatee, is appointed a guardian to oversee their personal life, medical decisions, and financial affairs. Britney Spears was put in a conservatorship for her mental state in the early 2000s until a judge officially dissolved the arrangement in 2021. Fans and concerned parties wondered if a similar setup is fit for Kanye West given that he is clearly mentally ill and could be a danger to himself and others.
However, there are several differences that make a conservatorship unlikely in the case of Kanye West versus the popular case of Britney Spears. First off, Britney agreed to be under the conservatorship of her parents through her legal counsel. At the time, the pop star considered it an advantage to winning the legal custody of her children. Kanye West is unlikely to consent to such an arrangement that would put someone else in charge of his personal, medical, and financial decisions.
More importantly, there really isn’t anyone in Kanye’s life to want to seek a conservatorship for him, let alone be his conservator. He shares equal access to his kids with their mother, but he is no longer in Kim’s life. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star doesn’t really want anything to do with her ex-husband other than co-parenting. And sadly, his mother Donda West died in 2007, while his father isn’t really involved in his life after his parents divorced.
Britney Spears’ parents were very much involved in her music career and personal life. Even if their involvement veered into taking advantage of their daughter, they were present in her life and were the ones to request a conservatorship. On the other hand, Kanye doesn’t have close family relatives to step in.
While we can all sign an online petition to put Kanye West in a conservatorship, it’s not that simple. A person close to him actually has to request it from the court, which will then order several medical and psychological assessments to decide whether a conservatorship is actually necessary. Usually, conservatees are people who are too old or physically or mentally unable to take care of themselves.
As unpredictable and misguided as Kanye West’s actions are, he doesn’t really fall under those categories. And it is highly unlikely that his medical team will sign off on any tests that will suggest he is incapable of making his own decisions. The biggest difference between his case and Britney’s is that it is unlikely Kanye will ever agree to a conservatorship, while Britney essentially did.
Stand-up comedian DL Hughley is just one of the people who wondered why Kanye isn’t in. Conservatorship already. “If Kanye was a female, if he had a vagina, he would already be in a conservatorship. Ask Wendy Williams or Britney Spears, and they didn’t do half the erratic stuff he did,” he noted. But we now know that personal opinions and petitions about a popular figure’s welfare can only go so far. Kanye West’s behavior has been nothing short of provocative and controversial, but nothing he has done so far truly merits legal intervention. For now, we can all just collectively wish that he seeks the help he desperately needs.