Kanye West Lyrics ‘Hurtful,’ Says American Parkinson Disease Association
Lyrics referencing the disease in the rapper’s latest album have drawn sharp criticism from Parkinson’s advocacy groups.
Two Parkinson’s groups are calling out Kanye West for making light of one of the symptoms of the disease in his latest album, Yeezus.
“They’re hurtful,” Leslie Chambers, president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) said of the lyrics, which reference making a woman shake as if she had the disorder.
“They demonstrate a lack of awareness of what the disease means,” Chambers said. “People are struggling both as caregivers and as patients, and our organization is working tirelessly to find a cure for this devastating disease as well as provide support for people who are suffering from it now. These types of comments are very insensitive and reflect very negatively on the lack of awareness and basic ignorance of what Parkinson’s is all about.”
The disease affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States alone and is caused by the degeneration of neurons in the brain, according to APDA, which works to promote education, awareness, and research about Parkinson’s. Symptoms can include slowed movement, unstable posture, muscle rigidity, and tremors.
In the United Kingdom, Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson’s UK, also spoke out about West’s insensitive lyrics.
“Kanye West has shown an inexcusable level of stupidity and cruelty towards people living with an incurable condition,” Ford said in a statement. “People with Parkinson’s have to cope with intolerable social discrimination on a daily basis—often to the point where they are afraid to go out in public. This sort of thoughtless, callous comment can only serve to make things even worse for them.”
Chambers has invited West or one of his representatives to talk with her to discuss the disorder, which she hopes would promote greater public awareness about Parkinson’s and its impact on families.
“People in the media and celebrities in particular have an opportunity to reach a large, wide audience,” Chambers said. “So it gives us an opportunity for teaching and education and hopefully to get people who are suffering from the disease to find out about our organization and what we can do to help them.”
(photo by rodrigoferrari/Flickr)