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Jenifer Lewis on Being Asked to Meet with Kanye West: ‘If a Person Is Not Ready to Get Help, They Won’t’

Actress Jenifer Lewis has been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder and she says she hopes Kanye West gets the help he needs.

Lewis was asked to address West, who has said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, in an Oct. 30 interview with The New York Times, and the “Black-ish” star revealed she’s been asked to meet with the rapper.

“Someone in Kanye’s camp is trying to get me in a room with him. I know what mental illness looks like, and I know that if a person is not ready to get help, they won’t,” she said. “I hope that he gets himself well. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else. This is not something to point your finger at and laugh. The only thing you can do for anyone else is to share your story of well-being.”

While West initially disclosed his mental illness on his song, “Yikes,” he told President Donald Trump during an Oct. 11 meeting that he was misdiagnosed.

“I wasn’t actually bipolar, I had sleep deprivation which can cause dementia 10 to 20 years from now when I wouldn’t even remember my son’s name,” he said in a video captured by CBS News.

Still, many people, including comedian Dave Chappelle, characterized West’s actions at the meeting as a “manic episode.” And West seemed to embrace his bipolar disorder, declaring on “Yikes” that it was his “superpower.” And the album cover for “Ye,” from which the song hails, reads, “I hate being Bi-Polar, it’s awesome.”

Whether or not West is bipolar, Lewis can relate to the highs and lows he’s experienced from being off and on medication, which is something he’s admitted to.

Lewis disclosed in her memoir, “The Mother of Black Hollywood,” that she lived with undiagnosed bipolar disorder throughout her 20s. But when she finally got the diagnosis from her therapist, Rachel, she had a revelation.

“When Rachel explained the details, I gasped,” she said in the book. “You mean, there is a name for describing why I talk fast and walk fast and rage, create drama, and speed when I drive a car? Compulsive, you say? The doodling, the braiding and unbraiding my hair? The arguing with people and storming off ? Kicking s—, throwing s—? Yeah, okay, I guess all of that describes me.”

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