When he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift while she was accepting her award at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, we didn’t hear the end of it. That is, until he began going on Twitter rants that had everyone questioning his state of mind. Kanye seems to get a lot of bad press, especially these days.
When many people think of him, they think he’s a narcissist and a jerk. Sure, these things may possibly be true to some extent (depending on who you ask). However, there is no denying that Kanye West is a musical genius and a talented entrepreneur. Sometimes, the world needs someone as outspoken and interesting as Mr. West. And like everyone else, Kanye is neither entirely good nor entirely bad. In fact, he’s performed some pretty kind and selfless acts throughout his life. Here are just 10 of them.
10. Asked For Donations Instead Of Gifts
The birth of Kim and Kanye’s first child was bound to be extravagant. Although the couple dropped a small fortune on Kim’s maternity wear and luxurious hospital care, they toned it down a bit when it came to the baby shower. Instead of loading their gift registry with expensive gifts for their baby, they decided to have no registry at all! The couple, also known as “Kimye”, asked their friends and family to donate to the Lurie Children’s Hospital which is in Chicago, where Kanye grew up. At the time, a representative for the hospital had said that the proceeds will go towards the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Fund. How sweet!
9. Gave Aspiring Rappers A Chance To Be Heard
Many people, much less celebrities, won’t give musicians on the street the time of day. But, Kanye stunned one lucky fan when he stopped and let the aspiring musician rap for a couple of minutes. The fan’s name is Cameron Grey and he knew that Kanye was going to be coming out of the Big Sean concert that night, so while it was planned, there had to have been the question of whether Kanye would actually stop and listen. Cameron apparently had the chance to give Kanye his contact information that night. But, he isn’t the only lucky fan. Another fan crossed paths with Kimye as they were walking around SoHo and Kanye actually stayed back to listen while Kim and her bestie walked ahead. Even rapper Big Sean’s career was made in part thanks to Kanye hearing him out at a local radio station then signing him to his record label two years later, in 2007. Any person that was completely self-centered would not have been so considerate. It’s clear that Kanye understands the struggles that aspiring artists face and cares enough to show them some respect.
8. Gave A Free Concert
In 2015, while in Yerevan, Armenia helping his wife to explore her roots, Kanye had a crazy idea. The story goes that it just came to his mind one night to have a free concert in a few hours and with the help of Twitter, the word spread. Not expecting too many people to show up on such short notice, Kim and Kanye were probably stunned to see thousands of people awaiting the musician at Swan Lake (yes, that’s an actual place). He apparently performed six songs, including “Stronger” and “Jesus Walks.” The performance didn’t last as long as he had hoped though, since the police had to shut it down once people began jumping into the lake, after Kanye himself had done so. Even so, it was a night that most fans who were there will always remember. It’s not everyday that a superstar comes to their country, let alone give a free performance.
7. Co-founded Donda’s House
Donda’s House was founded in 2013, and was named in honor of Kanye’s mother, who tragically passed away in 2007 due to complications from cosmetic surgery. The foundation’s goal was to help prevent kids from dropping out of school. It provides arts and music instruction to youth in Chicago, while improving their academic ability. This is significant since creative classes are usually the first to be cut when schools are facing financial crises. Thanks to Kanye and others associated with Donda’s House, Chicago’s youth can follow their dreams. In 2015, Kanye made a record donation of $133,000 to Donda’s House to secure its future.
6. Participated In Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts
Kanye is passionate, Kanye is outspoken and Kanye will always be Kanye. Even though his comment that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” garnered much attention during the telethon held for Hurricane Katrina relief, it shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Kanye looked genuinely upset and sounded compassionate about what was going on. He also performed as part of the Good Morning America’s “Songs for Hurricane Relief Series”, which raised funds for the American Red Cross. That’s just one charity concert, but Kanye has also participated in many others, including Live Earth.
5. Showed Up For “Wrap to Rap”
Donating money is one thing, and it’s a good thing, but any rich person can do so effortlessly. When someone wealthy donates their time for a cause it can speak volumes about their character. Kanye surprised many when he walked in unannounced to New Yorkers for Children’s Wrap to Rap event in 2010. There, he wrapped presents (donated by Wal-Mart for kids in foster care) for nearly two hours alongside teenagers in foster care. Now that in itself is a pretty cool Christmas present!
4. Helped War Veterans
In 2008, Kanye teamed up with MTV for a documentary called “Choose or Lose & Kanye West Present: Homecoming,” in which he visited the homes of recently returned Iraq war veterans and let them share their stories. Kanye realized that it’s hard for veterans to come home and re-build their lives. He felt the need to help out by paying for the soldiers’ rent, as well as any tuition or debt.
3. Gave A Special Present To His Fan In A Wheelchair
When Kanye gave a performance in Austin, Texas in 2014, he noticed one particular fan in the audience. Elliot Briones, who is in a wheelchair, was a huge Kanye fan who was struggling to see the performance from his spot in the second row. The rapper took notice and told his security guards to give Elliot his mic after the show. Elliot was overjoyed and said the gesture meant a lot to him and was a humbling experience.
2. Created A Lunchbox For Charity
In 2007, Kanye joined a bunch of celebrities who were asked to create a lunchbox to be auctioned off to charity. The proceeds went towards The Lunchbox Fund and the Food Bank for New York City. The Lunchbox Fund aims to provide a daily meal to orphaned and at-risk children in South Africa, since children who do not have access to proper nutrition cannot work towards an education. It’s always nice to see celebrities take time out of their busy schedule to contribute towards a cause like this.
1. Served Lunch To The Homeless
Few experiences are as humbling as serving meals to the less fortunate. In 2009, Kanye and his girlfriend at the time, Amber Rose, decided to do just that. The couple spent the day after Christmas serving meals to the homeless at an L.A. mission. Although some people would say that he just did it for damage control after the Taylor Swift incident, you have to remember that he had a choice. He could have spent the day shopping or hanging out at fancy places with his girl instead.