Kanye West, now known as Ye, is getting criticism from inside his own camp after the sudden closure and reopening of Donda Academy located in Calabasas, California. The newly-formed charter school closed after West made recent anti-Black and antisemitic remarks sparking a backlash from his (now former) business partners—including adidas and Balenciaga.
According to the New York Post, one of Ye’s closest friends and frequent collaborator Malik Yusef confirmed that several teachers and administrators left the school after the comments.
“Staff members of the Jewish faith were lost,” Yusef said, adding, “I know we had a couple people of the Jewish faith who worked there [who] basically recused or resigned in light of public pressure from, I am sure, friends and family. You got to go with your team when your family is saying it’s not possible to stay there.”
Tamar Andrews, a highly-regarded education consultant has also reportedly cut ties with the school. She reportedly has close connects with several Jewish schools.
Yusef, a Chicago native, has previously described himself as an “administrator, administering information to young growing minds” at Donda Academy. Yet, even he was disappointed in Ye’s comments saying, “What Kanye said was ridiculous.”
Donald Dillingham whose 17-year-old son, Robert, was recruited to the school as a top high-school point guard is expressing his disappointment in the chaotic situation telling the Post, “I think it’s a bad situation for my son. He’s already committed to University of Kentucky. No matter what, though, he needs to finish high school.”
Another basketball parent, Abu Askia father of Jakhi Howard—a guard said he pulled his son out of the school before the situation escalated, adding, “[The school] was not aggressive on academics and our son’s grades were slipping. So we got him out … They need to tighten up their curriculum.” Howard is slated to graduate in 2024.
Scholastic Play-By-Play Classics, a premiere high school basketball tournament, removed Donda from its Dec. 11 event. Its founder, Jeremy Treatman, announced, “In light of recent antisemitic statements by Kanye West, we will no longer be hosting Donda Academy at this year’s Play-By-Play Classics events. Kanye’s words and actions violate our values as a company and a country.”
Donda Academy is reportedly still open after Ye reversed his decision to close mere hours after sharing the announcement on social media last week.
As for the school’s future, Yusef said, “I believe [Donda] comes back better and stronger,” he added, “It is the legacy of [West’s] mother” —Donda West was chair of Chicago State University’s department of English before her son’s rap career skyrocketed. “Dr. West would take a step back. She would not want the school to be shut down.”