The war within Kanye West

The Netflix documentary “jeen-Yus” gives the rapper’s controversies and relationship troubles an interesting and complex backstory


Photo courtesy of Wikicommons

Kanye West performs at Lollapalooza in Chile in 2011. The new Netflix documentary, “jeen-Yus,” follows his complicated journey to stardom.

Roman Pallotto, Arts & Culture Writer

The Kayne West of 2022 is a complicated, bizarre and erratic personality. He is the subject of memes, his name is a constant fixture in gossip-column headlines and he seems to be digging himself into a deeper hole with every tweet and post. Many believed that his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2020 would be the tipping point that would finally knock him back into this reality, but the unsettling behavior became more visible in recent months.

Much of this stems from his relationship with now-estranged wife, Kim Kardashian. A little over a year ago, Kardashian filed for divorce from West after their relationship seemingly met its end. Their relationship lasted for nine years, and the couple have four kids together. As the months after the divorce passed by, any sort of partnership seemed to be heading down the drain. 

In recent months, both Kardashian and West seemed to have moved on to different relationships. In November 2021 it was rumored that Kardashian and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson, were dating. In a February interview with “People Magazine,” Davidson called Kardashian his “girlfriend,” confirming their relationship.

West has recently been seen alongside actress Julia Fox and many images of their date nights and get togethers were posted publicly. However, the couple broke up only a few weeks after being together. Despite West getting into other relationships, he has made it publicly known that he is not fond of the relationship between Kardashian and Davidson and, for the sake of his family, has been actively trying to win back Kardashian and start anew. The very public feud continues to take up space on every social media outlet.

“I think it is hypocritical for [West] to complain about Pete and Kim’s relationship while he is getting with other women at the same time,” said junior Hailey Gumpel of the controversy. “It doesn’t add up.” 

Davidson has reportedly tried reaching out to West about befriending him and having a relationship with West’s children, however West has not shown any interest in being friendly.

The fight has ballooned into arguments with other celebrities. Rapper and former West-collaborator Kid Cudi has been fighting with West because of his own friendship with Davidson. He even went to lengths of calling West a “dinosaur” after West claimed that Cudi would not be on his new album.

“Everyone knows I’ve been the best thing about your albums since I met you,” Cudi said via Instagram.

Additionally, singer Billie Eilish made an indirect stab at rapper Travis Scott over the Astroworld controversy that happened in late 2021 after numerous fans died due to complications at the concert. West was outraged at her statement and demanded that she apologize to Scott or else he would not perform at Coachella with her headlining. 

West has made these fights public over Instagram. One of the images he posted was of a movie poster for “Captain America: Civil War” naming it “Kanye West – Civil War.” The picture depicts him, Julia Fox and rappers Drake and Future on one side versus Eilish, Cudi, Davidson, Kardashian and Taylor Swift (with whom he has been feuding since 2009) on the other side.

The fight has escalated between West and Davidson. Last month, West posted numerous stabs at Davidson, whom he calls“Skete,” and even posted their text messages and insinuations about Pete’s past love life.

Fan fatigue with West’s behavior is becoming palpable. “Honestly I think his posts are really childish and these situations could have been handled so much better and out of the social media light,” said Gumpel of the behavior.

Last month, the Netflix documentary “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” was released only adding on to the publicity West has been receiving. The documentary spans a whopping four and a half hours of three episodes focusing on West’s battle with the music industry and making it big from his hometown of Chicago. The deeply intimate peek into West’s world touches on his recent issues with mental health and the strain the media has taken a toll on him. 

In the documentary one of the main focuses is his rise to stardom. Two of the key factors that played into his ascension to fame were his own confidence in himself and the confidence his mother had in him. In his grammy speech which he stated he’s been practicing since he was little, he said, “Everybody wants to know what I would do if I didn’t win. I guess we’ll never know.” Clearly his confidence in himself radiates purposeful energy and hearing that quote from the documentary really had me reminiscing on the times celebrities had talent and drive. Not only did Kanye exemplify ambitions but he also encourages ideas of self-respect through his attitude. 

Sadly things are different for him nowadays. While he did recently release his new album “Donda 2” this past month, the public eye has seemed to take a different approach to West’s performances and philosophies. Through his mental health struggles the media has knowingly twisted his beliefs and thrown him into a never ending loop of controversies. The third episode of the documentary touched on the topic of West’s mental health struggles and it really displayed the hurdles that men have to face when showing some sort of emotional issue in public, especially men of color. 

In the public eye men often have to prove to have some sort of strong foundation under themselves and when the foundation is a little shaky they have to prepare for humiliation. Even showing emotion is “not normal” for many male actors and performers when in reality, most men deserve to let out some of their feelings. Both the documentary and West’s actions have proven that it is not easy for males to display some sort of uneasiness; West’s bravado has been a key element of his success, and at the first signs of any cracks in this charisma, West — and his empire and allies — seem to crumble.

Overall, the documentary truly touched on the series of challenges and hurdles West jumped to rise to fame and includes behind-the-scenes clips of his pre-famous life. Getting to know the relationships he built with people over the years and the accomplishments he made to reach where he is makes spending four and a half hours watching Netflix worth it. Not to mention, if you’re looking for music recommendations and need some new songs to listen to, the documentary includes numerous bangers to get you introduced to West’s music. 

The real question now is, what is his goal in doing all of this? The series of questionable yet entertaining posts on social media and the release of an album and a documentary it makes you wonder whether it’s to give his projects more coverage, or if he’s being authentic.

Personally, I think that, if he is trying to win back Kardashian and fix the family that they made together, he’s doing it completely wrong. Her reactions have made it clear that as each day goes by she is more committed to separating from him despite them having a family together. Separately, they both have proven to be fit parents and dearly care for their children. However, together ,they just aren’t meant for each other.

On the other hand, I do think that he’s not the sole one to blame for his actions. No one is lending him help in the midst of his mental health crises, and maybe his Instagram posts are underlying messages about his ideology of the idiocies of social media. At some point he does need to own up to various claims he made and address them professionally, however; those cries for help are hard to hear over the social media gossip he seems to feed into.