Although Kanye West’s late mother Donda was a professor, we weren’t necessarily betting on the rapper to go down the education path himself. But alas, the mogul has emerged with Donda Academy, his new Christan prep school in Simi Valley, California — although, perhaps unsurprisingly, the jury’s still out on its legitimacy.
“Using an ethic of integrity and care, Donda Academy prepares students to become the next generation of leaders, thinkers and innovators by providing them with a world-class education that includes a rigorous core curriculum, and an emphasis on sustainability, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving,” the school’s website says.
As for that core curriculum, Donda Academy aims to “promote ideation, prototyping, and real-world implementation,” while faith will also be encouraged through daily group prayer and, of course, Sunday Service. The website also offers basketball and “enrichment classes” like music, visual art, and… parkour. Donda Academy serves pre-kindergarden through 12th grade, with a whopping 10:1 student-teacher ratio.
However, outlets like Rolling Stone and even local news publications like the Simi Valley Acorn have had a hard time getting in touch with any employees of Donda Academy. RS reports that the purported head of the school, Brianne Campbell, has never held a formal teaching position.
Even more eyebrow-raising are the two sources who told RS that families of Donda Academy students are required to sign nondisclosure agreements. A consultant to the school claims only parents sign what they describe as an “informal agreement.”
Ye’s close collaborator Malik Yusef can vouch, though: “I want to be emphatic that there’s never been a time that Kanye West did not want to do this,” he told RS. “I think people don’t understand the gravity of that. This man always wanted to create a school in his mama’s name.… Look at what we’re doing with the choir and the fashion in school — I don’t think there’s a venture capitalist or anybody that’s had a vision this clear on what education can look like for you.”
Ye reportedly plans to open more Donda Academy institutions nationwide. Its flagship campus is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024, if you’d like to get in on what appears to be a rocky trial run.
On the plus side, however, Ye might have more time to focus on his education ventures now that he’s shuttered his Yeezy collaboration with Gap.