Renewing their chance. Kanye West’s Donda Academy has been a point of contention for the past couple of weeks. Kanye, now known as Ye, opened up his Christian school in 2022 to much controversy. The “Heartless” artist heavily publicized his school and its unorthodox teachings. However, with recent news of Ye’s antisemitic remarks, the school suffered a major fallout.
On October 27, 2022, parents whose children attended the Donda Academy received an email that said that the school would be closed for the 2022 school year, and it also said that the school would re-open in 2023. Hours later, though, the school emailed parents again saying that the school is coming back “with a vengeance.” The email, obtained by TMZ read, “Join us tomorrow morning in worship for the return of Donda Academy. With the help of our parents and community, we are back and returning with a vengeance! The children of Donda are going to change the world. Apologies for the late email! See you bright and early!”
The future of the Christian Academy is still unknown. Read below for what we know about Kanye West’s Donda Academy.
What is Donda Academy?
Donda Academy is Ye’s Christian K-12 academy named after his late mother, Donda West. The campus is in Simi Valley, California where it sits on the defunct Simi Valley Stoneridge Preparatory School. Donda Academy was originally named the Yeezy Christian Academy and has about 82 students enrolled. The school aims to help students “learn fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes.”
In an interview with ABC News, Ye claimed that the school gave “kids practical tools that they need in a world post the iPhone being created.” He continued, “So many schools are made to set kids up for industries that don’t even matter anymore.” The school focuses “on practical skills” such as engineering, computer programming and farming. With all the curriculum added, he claims that his school can “actually turn your kids into, like, geniuses.” The school’s website particularly notes that the student-to-teacher ratio is 10:1. and subsequently lists the student’s daily schedule with “full school worship; core classes of language arts, math, and science; lunch and recess; enrichment courses including World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir, and Parkour.”
Donda Academy’s choir is most notably the school’s highlight. The choir performs at Kanye’s Sunday School Service and was notoriously singing at the Paris Fashion Week’s debut of Ye’s “White Lives Matter” t-shirts.
Why did Donda Academy close?
Donda Academy closed on October 27, 2022, before reopening the day after. It’s not known what truly caused the school’s closure, but most sites credit Kanye’s antisemitic remarks and the subsequent cut-off from brands like Adidas, Balenciaga and Gap to the sudden closure. In a now-deleted Instagram post directed at Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, who urged brands like Apple to stop working with Kanye, the “Flashing Lights” rapper said, “Can you find a place for the Donda Academy kids to go to school that’s properly zoned for a school? I got about 60 children that have no place to be as they look to transfer.”
Is Donda Academy accredited?
Donda Academy is not accredited. Students who graduate from the school might not have their degrees acknowledged by colleges or other programs.
What is the Donda Academy uniform?
Donda Academy’s uniform is baggy black clothing designed by none other than Ye’s brands. Ye posted photos of students dressed up in uniforms consisting entirely of his Yeezy and Gap designs. However, with Gap breaking ties with Ye, it’s not known who will provide clothes if the school fully reopens next year.
Who are the key players in Donda Academy?
Key players in Donda Academy include principal and executive director Brianne Campbell. Brianne also runs the school’s gospel choir. However, according to Rolling Stone, the principal does not have any teaching credits aside from music tutoring. She will reportedly graduate from Pepperdine University’s master’s program in education in January 2023.
Malik Yusef helped Ye with the vision of the school and explained The Life of Pablo artist’s plans to expand his vision of the Donda Academy. “I want to be emphatic that there’s never been a time that Kanye West did not want to do this,” he told Rolling Stone. “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.”
Tamar Andrews, who worked with Donda Academy since July, resigned in October. She is the director of early childhood education at both Temple Isaiah and American Jewish University and quit due to antisemitic remarks about going “defcon 3 on Jews.” In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, president of Temple Isaiah of Los Angeles Alison Samek said “Dr. Andrews immediately resigned from Donda Academy following Ye West’s tweet. Her last day was October 11, 2022 as she felt she could no longer support the organization.”
What is the Donda Academy basketball team?
The Donda Academy basketball team is the Donda Doves. Ye recruited top high school basketball players from across the nation to play for the school. However, due to his recent social media rampages, national tournaments are declining the school from participating. The Play-By-Play Classic in Louisville, Kentucky and the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts rescinded the Donda Academy’s invitations. The Hoophall Classic tournament made a statement saying that “While there had been discussions about Donda Academy’s participation in the 2023 Hoophall Classic, they will not be included in our upcoming announcement of the showcase’s field.”
In an interview obtained by the New York Times, organizer of the Play-By-Play Classic Jeremy Treatman said the organization feels “terrible” for the Donda Academy players, but he explained that Ye’s actions were enough to ban the team. “I just feel like it was a no-brainer and I just don’t want to be associated with his school right now.” He continued, “We’ve been normalizing too much stuff in the last four years. We, as a company, cannot normalize these words and behavior and hate message. We just can’t with good conscience have them.”
In an Instagram post before his account became restricted on October 31, 2022, Ye wrote, “They tried to dismantle our basketball team. Those boys are being penalized without reason. Even professional athletes were threatened by their owners to disassociate.” A source told TMZ that because of the tournament cancellations, the team doesn’t have any games lined up and that they would have to organize practices by themselves.
Who goes to Donda Academy?
Donda Academy usually keeps the identities of its students under wraps. However, according to Malik Yusef, the students are the children of Ye’s collaborators, creatives and other celebrities. The tuition fee for each student is $15,000 per year and requires the signing of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), meaning they could be sued if they speak about the school or a student’s experience publicly. Keyshia Cole posted a picture of her child on his first day of school at Donda Academy. However, the singer pulled her child from Donda Academy after Kanye’s antisemitic remarks and “White Lives Matter” shirts.
Do Kim & Kanye’s kids go to Donda Academy?
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s kids don’t seem to go to Donda Academy. In a long heated argument posted on Instagram by Kanye, the Skims founder did not want her kids North, 8, Saint, 6, Chicago, 4, and Psalm, 3 to attend their father’s school.
Ye revealed that they reached an agreement where they would split time between normal school and Donda Academy, but their children still primarily go to their local school. “So, right now, we’ve come to a compromise, but I’m not finished, because I don’t compromise,” Kanye said. “But we’ve come to a compromise where my kids go to my school after school, and they learn choir. I sat there with my son, and he came, and he said, ‘Why do I need to sing? I don’t even go to your school.’”
Kanye complained about their other school’s curriculum, “Now you look up, and my kids are going to a school that teaches black kids a complicated Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa doesn’t — you know? So, they don’t teach, even Christmas itself, Christ mass, they don’t teach it at Sierra Canyon. And what they do is take all of the celebrities, the actors, the basketball players, and they throw them in this one school, and they indoctrinate the kids.” Kanye called his son Psalm “brilliant,” but his current preschool is “looking to figure out how to indoctrinate him to make him be another part of the system.”
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