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Keke Wyatt: Is the Biracial R&B Diva battling Bipolar Disorder?

Updated on March 8, 2016
Crystal Gordon profile image

Eloquent. Aesthetic. Starter. Magnetic. Spiritual. Strong. Determined. Ambitious. Freethinking. Leader. Confident. Adventurous. Managerial.

R&B vocal powerhouse, Keke Wyatt, attributes altercations to her mixed ethnicity but what lies beneath her warlike behavior?

Keke Wyatt Blames Her Lack Of Social Skills On Being Biracial
Keke Wyatt Blames Her Lack Of Social Skills On Being Biracial | Source

Keke's racial Identity

Keke Wyatt is mixed but identifies mostly with the African American community.

Wyatt's maternal grandparents are both white with eight children between them. They eventually divorced and her maternal grandmother re-married an African-American man.

Afterward, Wyatt's mother, aunts, and uncles were all shunned by her maternal grandfather and his family.

Consequently, Wyatt's maternal step-grandfather's family embraced them in an African-American household.

Wyatt also has Afro-Caribbean and Cherokee roots. Furthermore, she and two of her maternal aunts also married African American men.

Just Mixed or Manic too?

"Keke Wyatt", born Ketara Shavon, is a Mixed American R&B recording artist, popularized after successful R&B collaborations with African American singer Avant.

In 2012, she was cast in the TV One's R&B Divas which features the lives of 1990s chart-topping R&B singers and documents their lives in Atlanta,Georgia as they work towards rebuilding their careers.

The Season 3 premiere of the show aired last week and began with the divas addressing Keke Wyatt's baffling belligerent behavior in seasons past.

The climax of the episode took place during Monifah's lesbian engagement party, where Wyatt again exhibited her appalling antics.

Many questions were posed after the altercation, I specifically wondered why she lashed out yet another one of her friends and cast-mates, Monifah.

She claims the conflicts stem from misunderstandings between herself and fellow cast-mates because she is mixed; however, it can be argued that the conflicts stem mostly from her seemingly mixed manic episodes.

Keke's old beef with castmate, Angie Stone

‘I HAVE 6 KIDS OF MY OWN. YOU CANNOT TALK TO GROWN WOMEN LIKE WE’RE 2:’ KEKE WYATT SPEAKS ON ANGIE STONE BEEF
‘I HAVE 6 KIDS OF MY OWN. YOU CANNOT TALK TO GROWN WOMEN LIKE WE’RE 2:’ KEKE WYATT SPEAKS ON ANGIE STONE BEEF | Source

About Bipolar & Types

Bipolar disorder causes severe and overwhelming up-and-down episodes that can make daily functioning difficult.

During these episodes a total break from reality happens. People with bipolar disorder experience either severe sadness (depression) or high levels of energy/irritability (mania).

Hypomania is a high-energy state whereas a person feels exuberant but hasn’t lost his or her grip on reality. And, mixed mania is when both experiences occur simultaneously.

Sign of "Mixed Mania"

Keke Wyatt's extreme irritability suggests that she suffers from "mixed mania," where she experiences symptoms of mania and depression at the same time.

These symptoms also include racing thoughts and speech, overactivity, or agitation.

People with bipolar disorder often become so severely irritable that interferences tend to occur within their relationships.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW: It is an exhibition of Keke Wyatt's uncontrollable irritability causing conflict within her friendship at Monifah's engagement party.

Keke Wyatt exhibiting "mixed mania" behavior

Keke's "eye roll": a nonverbal cue depicting mixed emotions & mood fluctuations

Keke attends an important meeting, but an uncomfortable bout with GAS may derail her chances!

The Workplace

People with bipolar disorder often have difficulty in the workplace because so many of their symptoms can interfere with their ability to show up for work, do their job, and interact productively with others.



As a professional singer, Keke Wyatt responsibilities are as follows:

  • Sing lyrics during performances with the goal of entertaining audiences.
  • Convey emotion including joy, sadness, revenge, heartbreak, or conflict in songs.
  • Apply knowledge of harmony, melody, rhythm, and voice production during numbers.
  • Train or prep voice using different melodies and ranges.
  • Project voice so all of audience can hear.
  • Study and memorize music.
  • Record demos of songs in studios.
  • Work with producers to fine-tune songs or albums.
  • Collaborate with a manager or agent who handles administrative details, finds work, and negotiates contracts.
  • Collaborate with creative directors to improve the sound and style.
  • Go on tour with band or independently to promote music.
  • Write lyrics to songs or Commission songwriters to write lyrics.

This is a hefty list of demands for someone who might be coping with bipolar disorder.

Keke Wyatt's career and reputation derailed after she was indicted for assault for stabbing her husband and road manager, Rahmat Morton, with a steak knife on Christmas day.

A traumatic experience like this could have triggered the disorder and Keke's other recent episodes.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS ABOVE TO THE RIGHT: They clearly depict Keke's irritability, insubordination, and personal struggles with professional conduct.

Why might this be happening to Keke?

It's often wondered why people act out of character at times. But there is no definitive answer as to why "mood" episodes" are experienced.

However, racial identity and accumulation can be contributing factors to the disorder amongst those in the African American community.

Racial identity is the belonginess to the African American group or culture. One must recognize their African descent, including shared values and traditions, as well as, the historical turbulence of the African presence in European America.

Acculturation is the theoretical conceptualization involving the adoption of characteristics of the dominant culture. It is similar to assimilation in the sense that African American people adopt the ideals of European society.

This relates to mood disorders, anxiety, and depression among African American people within the African American community because their sense of racial identity is lessened and it leaves them wondering who they are and why they do not fit in.

Racial identity together with acculturation leads to a few possible classifications:

  1. One being, a person high in racial identity and low in acculturation would have difficulty recognizing symptoms and are more likely to attribute the symptoms to physical or spiritual causes.
  2. Another being, those who are high in acculturation and low in racial identity will be more at risk of psychological disorders similar to the majority culture.

Keke openly admitted in recent interviews that her racial identity contributes to her anxiety when working with the other R&B Divas.

Keke's redial identity leaves her feeling misunderstood by other black women because she does not feel "black enough" for them and vice versa with other white women.

What will Keke do with these unhealthy feelings? Probably keep them bottled inside.

African Americans scared to seek Psychotherapy

Pyschotherapist, Frederick A. White, Ph.D.
Pyschotherapist, Frederick A. White, Ph.D. | Source

Bipolar or Biracial?

Do you think Keke suffers from Biracial Problems or Bipolar Disorder?

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Black folks don't go to the doctor

Keke confessed to her twin brother, Keever West Wyatt III, that she has a problem. Now, she needs to seek treatment but it's unlikely that she will because African American people are half as likely as whites to seek mental health services.

This is because many African American people are suspicious of counseling due to cultural mistrust from slavery.

Cultural mistrust, as it relates to counseling and psychotherapy within African Americans, is their unwillingness as patients to trust a European counselor, like the psychotherapist pictured to the right, or a mental system based on Eurocentric values, like Freud.

When African Americans do engage in services, they engage for shorter periods of treatment and have higher premature terminations rates from treatment. This is mainly because many African American patients may feel as though their counselors can not relate to them due to the gap between them culturally.

In addition to racism, the importance of spirituality and religion must be considered for treatment purposes. These are important qualities among African Americans and they support their counseling as coping mechanisms.

Afro-centric cultural values, communalism (importance of human relationships and the interrelatedness of people), and harmony are important also because they deal with the essential African American values of balance and interconnectedness.

Other contributing factors to the lack of counseling in the African American community include:

  • African Americans are more likely to engage in counseling when it is labeled counseling and not psychotherapy because of the increased stigma associated with the latter.
  • African Americans would prefer to discuss their concerns with religious leaders or within the confines of their own personal faith.
  • Many African Americans feel it is inappropriate to speak frankly about their problems in public in such places as mental health organizations.

Sensitivity, or affect sensitivity, is also an important aspect for counseling because it is an essential method of getting to know or being in tune with other’s experiences. African American clients want to know that their counselors can identify with their pain:

  • African Americans may use phrases like “you feel me?”

The table in the following section provides information on home remedies. African Americans harboring high levels of cultural mistrust against psychotherapy can use these to self-manage the contributors to bipolar disorder.

*Seeking consultation from a health professional is recommended before using any of the following natural remedies.

Home Remedies for Bipolar Disorder

Natural Remedies
How it helps
Where to get it
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) SUPPLEMENTS
5-HTP can increase serotonin, thus improving mood, sleep, and pain control.
These supplements are sold in most health stores.
Dehydroepiandosteronem (DHEA)
DHEA improves/stabilizes mood and reduces symptoms of depression.
This supplement can be purchased over-the-counter or online.
Fish Oil
Fish oil is fundamental in a healthy diet, so it will help you feel better overall.
Fish Oil can be purchased over-the-counter or online.
Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which can help enhance traditional therapies for bipolar disorder.
Purchase flaxseed oil over the counter, at the drugstore, or health food store.
Acupuncture
Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system and can cause the release of endorphins in bipolar patients.
Acufinder.com provides an online database of licensed acupuncture providers and more.
Yoga
Yoga can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and decrease panic attacks associated with bipolar disorder.
Yogajournal.com has a comprehensive Yoga Teachers and Studios Directory, including reviews, business details and maps.
Massage
Massages provide stress relief. They improve sleep patterns, which promotes brain health and balanced mood.
iWantaMassage.com has assembled a huge list of Massage Therapists.
Exercise Regularly
Exercise steadies mood and alleviates depression. It releases endorphins that can help normalize sleep patterns.
The gym, home, or outdoors.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder cannot be cured, but it can be treated effectively over time. Although undiagnosed, Keke Wyatt does show symptoms of a mood disorder; however, she should seek professional help to avoid bipolar misdiagnosis.

Keke should seek professional help from a psychotherapist, preferably a mixed female, who can be sensitive to the issues she deals with, create goals for her, lengthen her treatment (if needed), encourage her to get mentors, acknowledge racism, and teach her how to deal with it.

Her therapist also needs to acknowledge African American language (i.e. discussing feelings of depressions, sadness, or hopelessness as having the “blues”) in order to make Keke as comfortable as possible.

Proper treatment helps many people with bipolar disorder gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. However, even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur.

Treatment works best if done closely with a doctor and talked openly about. An effective maintenance treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

FOR MORE IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ON BIPOLAR DISORDER CLICK HERE.

Consult a doctor if you have a medical concern: Listed below are hotlines, help lines, and information lines that can also refer you to state and local services in your community.

Immediate Medical Assistance: 911

Crisis Call Center
800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices.html

National Hopeline Network
800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
800-442-HOPE (4673)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
http://www.hopeline.com

National Institute of Mental Health Information Center
866-615-6464
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/site-info/contact-nimh.shtml

National Mental Health Association Hotline
800-273-TALK (8255)
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
http://www.nmha.org

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO BELOW: It is a documentary by Abiola Abrams about a Black Woman fighting Bipolar Disorder. It follows a year in the life of an NYC slam poet battling manic depression & suicidal tendencies. Also, check out Keke Wyatt's upcoming concert tour dates and new music available online.

Knives in My Throat: "The Year I Survived When My Mind Tried to Kill Me."

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      Lynette 2 years ago

      Excellent, well-written article!

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