The memory of Kanye West‘s late mother, Donda West lives on through the nonprofit arts program Donda’s House, started by West, Che “Rhymefest” Smith and his wife Donnie.
According to People Magazine, the program started in 2013, sparked by Donnie and Rhymefest’s idea around 2011. Donnie recalls the origins:
“That year, my husband Che ‘Rhymefest’ Smith ran for City Council. He wanted to launch an arts program for youth. Based on our research, somewhere along the lines of 75 percent of black and latino young people in the United States do not have access to arts instruction…We lost by 200 votes, but we were so committed to the idea that we decided we didn’t need to be in office to try to make this happen for Chicago’s youth.”
Rhymefest reached out to West, long-time collaborator from the age of 16 (he won a Grammy for helping produce “Jesus Walks”), and formed the program in memory of Donda, a college professor who advocated for the arts. Donda’s House seeks to help disadvantaged youth in Chicago, and has already helped more than 100 students in just one year. Of course, Donnie is looking to expand nonprofit as far as it will go:
“What we’d like is to have a Donda’s House in every low-income community around the world supported by entertainment professionals and highly recognizable public figures. We want to create access for those students who don’t have it.”
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Dylan “CineMasai” Green is a movie geek, hip-hop aficionado, and pita chip enthusiast. Find him on Twitter.
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