Donda’s House co-founder and Grammy award-winning rapper, Rhymefest [far left] made a huge announcement this week regarding the foundation. “I’m excited to announce the purchase of Kanye’s childhood home as a community Arts incubator,” he said on Instagram.
Adding, “It will be the first of our Nationwide Lite-Houses. A state of the art recording studio, a curriculum space for @dondashouse and Southside music museum. We want to show bright spots in communities that’ve been divested from, we know more lights exist here, they just need to be activated.”
The purchase of the South Shore neighborhood home—that will be Donda’s House headquarters— is just one of the initiatives the foundation has in the Chicago area. Donda’s House runs arts and music programs for at-risk youth and was founded by Kanye and Rhymesfest in 2008 after Dr. Donda West’s (mother of Kanye) untimely death. The men have been friends since the age of 15.
He spoke about the foundation in a recent Billboard interview.
“I’m a rapper who is a mix of conscious and street,” said Rhymefest, who left behind his rap career to pursue philanthropy. “Once I figured that out, I had to figure out my product. I’m selling community restoration. I’m selling an idea of how to be involved in the community and do music and be an artist.”
But what was most telling was his comments on his old friend, Kanye: Rhymefest doesn’t want to discuss Kanye West but can’t help but bring him up. They last spoke in December 2015, when Rhymefest visited Los Angeles. “He had some bad people around, giving him advice,” he says. “I’m concerned about his mental well-being. He’s pulled in multiple directions.” He told West that Chicago needed him, certainly more than the fashion world or reality TV did. And, he contends, West needs his hometown. “Kanye used to be trying to find humanity through his vanity,” says Rhymefest. He references lines he loves from “All Falls Down,” which West raps in his Chicago twang: “I got a problem with spending before I get it/We all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it.” But, says Rhymefest, “the vanity has won. So whatever.”
Talk about foreshadowing…
Rhymefest said he dreams of buying entire blocks in Southside Chicago to provide stable homes and jobs for Donda’s House students. Only time will tell, but we have a feeling he’ll make it happen.