Kanye West takes his son Saint to a Golden State Warriors game against the Boston Celtics in March in San Francisco. (Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
On Thursday, Kanye West offered a correction on an infamous quote he gave in a 2013 interview with Sway Calloway: “I will go ahead and say that Sway had the answer.”
Kanye, who legally changed his name to Ye, was discussing in a new interview with Good Morning America his current legal battles with Gap and Adidas, with which he has separate collaborative deals for his Yeezy brand.
Back in 2013, Kanye was defiantly against Sway’s emphasis that he distribute his own line rather than working with a conglomerate, yelling, “You don’t have the answers, Sway!”
In hindsight, Kanye, in a much softer tone, said that Sway had a point.
Kanye isn’t known for being conciliatory, so it’s too bad he wasn’t also asked to revisit other comments he has made now that the rapper, producer, designer and businessman has added educator to his list of job titles.
Kanye has opened a school called the Donda School, “a gospel school” he created and named after Donda West, his late mother who chaired the department of english, communications, media arts and theater at Chicago State University.
At the school in Simi Valley, California, according to its website, students participate in “full school worship” along with core classes of language arts, math and science, and enrichment courses such as visual art, film, choir and parkour.
On the “Who We Are” section of their website, the school claims: “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.”
On GMA, Kanye said it was originally named the Yeezy Christian Academy and that the school gives “kids practical tools that they need in a world post the iPhone being created.” He went on to add that Donda Academy is in its third year of operation and has an enrollment of 82 students.
“So many schools are made to set kids up for industries that don’t even matter anymore,” Kanye explained, noting Donda Academy focuses on “practical skills” for its students on jobs related to engineering, computer programming or farming.
He added that the school’s tutors have the capacity to “actually turn your kids into, like, geniuses.”
“And if your kids are geniuses ... they’re three grade levels ahead,” he said.
You know, I’ll concede that most of our public schools are not necessarily preparing American students for the kind of well-paying jobs they deserve access to. And it’s nice to hear about a school focusing on critical thinking and creativity when more often than not, most public school students fixate on getting its students to pass a standardized test.
Admittedly, I am only a gay uncle as opposed to an actual parent, but I do have questions for the parents of those 82 students and all those seeking their kid’s admittance into Donda Academy: Have y’all forgotten what Kanye has said about learning?
Respectfully, much as people celebrate him for his creative genius, Kanye is a grown man that brags about not liking to read. Understandably, people will never forget what he once told Sway in anger. I, however, have never let go of the college dropout’s thoughts about literacy.
In promotion of a 52-page book he co-authored, Kanye West told Reuters in 2009 he was “a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life.”
Again, his mama was an English professor.
Then there are the comments Kanye made just a week ago about reading.
On a recent episode of “Alo Mind Full” podcast that aired last Friday, Kanye told hosts Danny Harris and Alyson Wilson that he’s never read any literature and prefers speaking instead.
“I actually haven’t read any book,” he said. “Reading is like eating Brussels sprouts for me. And talking is like getting the Giorgio Baldi corn ravioli.”
So, I have come to learn that Brussels sprouts did indeed have a flop era, hence why so many of us resented the taste of the vegetable only until more recent years, but this is exactly why people need to read. Kanye could have learned that Brussels sprouts taste better now – especially with bacon, parmesan or some hot honey and hot sauce. Because I like to read, I’m going to try this fancy-sounding corn ravioli.
But, to the larger point, is that not the stupidest analogy in the world?
This man is in his mid-40s and compared reading to eating vegetables he doesn’t like.
I have questions about the judgment of the parents enrolling their children in this school for that alone ― but especially after reading a Rolling Stone report about Donda Academy.
Two sources tell Rolling Stone that families are required to sign nondisclosure agreements, though one consultant claims only parents sign an “informal agreement.”
Meanwhile, the school is not accredited, and like many schools across America, is actively looking for teachers. Then there is the listed principal and executive director Brianne Campbell, who also leads the school’s choir and apparently has never held a formal position as an educator.
Shouldn’t that alarm parents?
“People choose to bring their kids to Donda Academy for a sense of privacy,” Malik Yusef, a producer and longtime collaborator of Kanye that says he helped shape the school’s concept, explained to the publication. “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.”
And they pay $15,000 a year in tuition for it.
This school will serve as a launching pad for West’s plans to open up campuses across the country alongside Donda University.
I’m concerned that Kanye is basically franchising Trump University for multicultural religious tots, but if people want their children to learn from a man who doesn’t like to learn, let him cash checks from those fools. I’ll just pray to Jesus those children will at least like to read.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.