Still image of Donda Acdemy students
Source: Facebook

Kanye West Built Donda Academy — What Happened to the School?

Donda Academy was the controversial brainchild of rapper Kanye "Ye" West, but talk about the school has fizzled, and many people are wondering why.


Jul. 28 2023, Published 4:57 p.m. ET

Donda Academy, named after the late mother of iconic rapper Kanye West, was a school that, like the rapper, garnered significant attention, mixed reactions, and controversy since its establishment. According to Kanye, the school was founded on the principles of Christianity, creativity, diversity, and empowerment. At the school, students were known to wear Ye-approved uniforms consisting of black baggy sweatpants and matching black T-shirts.

The unaccredited private school in Southern California cost about $15,000 a year and was created to give students a unique approach to learning and observing the world around them. Although, at first, people seemed to acknowledge the establishment as "different," their perceptions shifted to concern after the rapper became embroiled in a controversy that created a domino effect and negatively affected the school's reputation.

Ye at Donda Academy event
Source: Facebook
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Ye claimed that the school aimed to revolutionize traditional education by providing a unique and inclusive learning environment for students of all backgrounds. In an ABC News interview, the father of four alluded to the fact that the school was too focused on the future. "So many schools are made to set kids up for industries that don't even matter anymore," he said. He also mentioned that the academy had the potential to "actually turn your kids into, like, geniuses."

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Why was Donda Academy closed down?

After the "Flashing Lights" rapper found himself embroiled in a series of tumultuous controversies, including anti-Semitic comments and the unveiling of his contentious "White Lives Matter" t-shirts during a YZY show, people from all corners of the world were quick to call out his actions. The repercussions were severe, resulting in a significant loss of business deals and partnerships for the artist, including his highly lucrative deal with Adidas.

But the storm didn't end there. In October, the enigmatic Christian private school, Donda Academy, which Ye had founded, sent a surprising email to parents, announcing a shutdown for the remainder of the 2022-23 academic year, only to reverse its decision hours later, stating that classes would resume later that same week. An air of mystery surrounded the institution's operations.

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Amidst the chaos, legal troubles added to Ye's woes. In April, two teachers hired in January and subsequently terminated in March took legal action against Kanye West and Donda Academy. Their lawsuit accused both the artist and the school of violating health and safety codes while allegedly unlawful educational practices.

Despite the numerous challenges, the Donda Academy has continued functioning since the controversy. Nevertheless, the aftermath of the tumultuous year has left Ye's reputation and ventures hanging in the balance, casting uncertainty on what the future holds for the once-celebrated artist and his educational institution.

The rapper has been relatively "quiet" for a while. Although he has since gotten remarried and re-directed his energy toward unrevealed other ventures, the future of his next era is still uncertain and just as mysterious as his school.

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