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After Kanye West's online meltdown, why are concerned fans drawing parallels with YouTuber Etika's death?

Etika was a popular YouTube streamer who was subjected to ridicule and abuse last year in spite of his clearly evident mental health issues
(Wikimedia Commons / TR1Iceman and Getty Images)
(Wikimedia Commons / TR1Iceman and Getty Images)

After failing to make any progress with his presidential ambitions, rapper Kanye West recently had a very public breakdown on social media, posting a series of bizarre tweets that ranted on everything from the actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Lawrence to his estranged relationship with his mother-in-law Kris Jenner of the Kardashian family.

It seems the reason for the public breakdown might have been due to his wife Kim Kardashian fearing for his mental health since one of Kanye's last few tweets stated, "Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up." West had previously broken down at his campaign rally in South Carolina while tearfully detailing that he and Kim had nearly killed their child North West in an abortion that ultimately never materialized. After his latest bizarre episode on social media, West stated, "Ima focus on the music now."

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West attend the WSJ. Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards sponsored by Harry Winston and Rémy Martin at MOMA on November 06, 2019, in New York City (Getty Images)

The Internet promptly exploded over Kanye's abortion rant, and it seems Kim and Kris tried to get Kanye's mental health scrutinized, which explains the flurry of posts on his Twitter account. Ever since Kanye's tweets (most of which have now been deleted) surfaced online, social media has been following his unfolding meltdown with rapt attention, and fans have been praying for his mental health after a series of hashtags like "Pray for Ye" and "Damn Ye" started trending worldwide.

One of the other sobering trends that sprung in its wake related to Etika, a popular YouTube streamer who tragically died in New York City's East River a year ago. Etika, whose real name was Desmond Daniel Amofah, was an African-American gaming streamer who rose to fame on YouTube thanks to his over-the-top reaction videos, live streams, and constant fan engagement. 


However, Etika's antics also soon started getting him in trouble, as he started having a series of progressively disturbing mental breakdowns, which were primarily viewed as antics by his fans. He got banned for posting pornography on his channel, made homophobic and ethnic slurs and started hinting at suicide on several occasions, such as tweeting that he was going to kill himself with a gun. However, most fans did not seem to understand that these antics were a sign of debilitating mental illness, and proceeded to ridicule him online. In April 2019, Etika live-streamed himself being detained by the police after a fan reported his increasingly erratic behavior, and even appeared on a Keemstar interview where he stated that he was the "Antichrist" and wanted to "purge all life." This proved to be the tipping point, as a multitude of fans turned on him, calling him crazy and a clown, without giving regard to his mental health.

Etika was unable to cope with the public scrutiny that he was now dealing with on a daily basis and posted a now-deleted YouTube video titled 'Im Sorry' on June 20, 2019. He admitted that he was struggling with mental health issues, and also left a suicide note in the video's description. His body was later found in the East River a few days later on June 24. Fans started bringing up Etika's name after many noted that Kanye West was having a similar mental health breakdown, judging by his recent meltdown on Twitter.

Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019, in Indio, California (Getty Images)

One fan tweeted, "Okay so I’m not defending #kanye on what he said, what he said was simply wrong. And deserves to get criticized for what he said, but obviously this is a sign of a mental breakdown. As we know #KanyeWest is bipolar, and y’all taking him as a joke. Remember what happen to Etika?"

Another user posted, "People should not be making fun of Kanye right now, he's not mentally ok and you're not helping him by hyping up this behavior OR making fun of him. I don't want another Etika situation where nobody took someone in desperate need of help seriously."

An emotional fan also exclaimed, "All these people clowning Kanye were the same ones clowning Etika when he had his breakdown. Show these f**kers examples of what the f**k they're contributing to."

As another concerned fan concluded, "Don’t let Kanye become another Etika situation. Don’t laugh, don’t insult him. He needs genuine support in the ways that’ll help him with what he needs, not what he wants. If something bad happens to Kanye it’s on us."