Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Is Kanye West's New Donda Academy Too Cool for School?

The new private school has been mostly shrouded in mystery since pictures of students attending started floating around online last month.

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Kanye West onstage during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Kanye West onstage during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Paras Griffin for BET (Getty Images)

Picture it, Sicily 1922: children all gathering for a fun-filled day of learning Parkour, Japanese, full school worship, math, science, language arts, choir, fashion courses and athletics, all with an “elevated” distilled chicory coffee in hand. If that sounds like heaven to you and your child, then they may be a perfect candidate for enrollment into Kanye West’s new private school, Donda Academy.

If you need a little more info before making the commitment, however, look no further than the recently published in-depth report from Rolling Stone, that takes a look inside the school that’s been shrouded in mystery ever since pictures of kids in Yeezy uniforms were posted (and subsequently deleted) off Kanye’s Instagram page a month ago.

Located in Simi Valley, Calif., Donda Academy (named after Ye’s mother who passed away in 2007) has a current enrollment just under 100 students and 16 full-time teachers. The curriculum is inspired by the lessons Ye learned throughout his life and from his mother, and features unique classes geared towards fashion, culinary sciences, athletics, STEM, and other standard school teachings. There’s also recess, which incorporates some aspects of parkour and freerunning, and choir which serves as some sort of through line to West’s Sunday Service.

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And while all of those aforementioned offerings sound unproblematic on the surface, parents are required to sign NDAs in order for their children to attend. This calls into question the inner workings of the school, how its run and who its run by—which have all been an enigma for the last few months.

“The process of Donda school is for the parishioners, for the attendees,” Malik Yusef, a producer and longtime collaborator of West’s who helped shape the school’s concept said. “I don’t think Kanye needs to tell the world what he’s doing, so that he can be under more scrutiny. People choose to bring their kids to Donda Academy for a sense of privacy. A sense of care, a sense of concern, a sense of love, an environment of health, and an environment of wealth, an environment of learning, and putting God as a focus.”

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Added Tamar Andrews, a 20-year early childhood education program expert and consultant for Donda: “Honestly, we don’t care if people know about the school. The people that want to come to the school are looking for a good Christian school in that area and they know that we’re there. There is also a certain notoriety that comes with being affiliated with Donda. So, I don’t know that we have to advertise, which is a blessing and a curse.”

To read the full report on what’s happening inside Donda Academy, visit rollingstone.com.