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London Celebrity Sightings - October 10, 2020

Source: Neil Mockford / Getty

Ahead of the release of his highly anticipated new album, Kanye West is making sure that his fans at HBCUs will be able to tune in.

The rapper/producer has been hard at work on Donda, his latest album which is now slated to be released this coming Friday (July 23rd). In his usual grandiose fashion, West is throwing a listening party at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia this Thursday (July 22nd) at 8 P.M. and he’s donated 5,000 of those tickets to faculty members, staff and students of area HBCUs Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, Morris Brown College and ITC.

This event is the latest listening party for Donda, which was to have been released last year but was shelved for more work. The album named for Kanye’s late mother, Donda West, was first previewed to an invite-only crowd that included Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and web personality Justin Laboy in Las Vegas, Nevada over the past weekend. Laboy’s comments about the album drove anticipation to a fever pitch online. A track from Donda was also the backdrop for a new commercial from Beats that featured sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson that aired during Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

The ticket donations to these colleges is the latest move by Kanye West to involve HBCUs despite his recent right-wing affiliations with former president Donald J. Trump and Candace Owens. The last event was in October 2019, when the rapper brought his “Sunday Service” series to Howard University’s Homecoming festivities. Another of West’s philanthropic moves that benefited HBCUs that month occurred when a financial gift to Pastor Jamal Bryant’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was redirected to create a scholarship in his late mother’s name at Morris Brown College.

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