In the wake of Kanye West polarizing the African-American community after stating that slavery was “a choice,” and using a picture of Whitney Houston’s drug-laden bathroom as the cover for Pusha T’s upcoming album, Kim Kardashian West decided to jump on her husband’s bandwagon by blasting former Kanye collaborator Rhymefest after the rapper claimed West had financially left Donda’s House, the Chicago charity named after West’s mother, in the lurch.
Kardashian fired back at Rhymefest, who co-founded Donda’s House, accusing him of “fake” activism, sporting counterfeit Yeezy sneakers, and riding Kanye’s coattails. In response, Rhymefest, who had alleged that West said “f–k the youth of Chicago,” turned to Drake, whom he asked to donate to Donda’s House. If this beef wasn't convoluted enough, Drake is also feuding with Pusha T, who West is backing.
On Twitter, Kardashian wrote, “After several years of lack of performance from the organization and Kanye going through personal financial issues, he could no longer fund salaries. Rhymefest asked to take it over and Kanye agreed with no financial strings attached.”
Adding, “Kanye gave his ‘friend’ an opportunity to run an organization on his own. So now that Kanye is being publicly shamed for not being involved makes no sense and, at this exact time, just seems very calculated.”
In a follow-up, Kardashian wrote, “I have and will always applaud any efforts to give back to the community. To fight for justice and to help uplift the youth. But I will never tolerate someone who was close to Kanye who attempts to use his late mother’s name to publicly shame him while pretending to do good.” Adding, “I will always ride for my man!”
In response to Kardashian’s tweets, Donda’s House released a statement, which read, “Due to recent events that have occurred over the last 48 hours, we have decided to no longer use the name Donda's House, Inc. This has been an incredibly difficult decision but the social media quotes from Kim Kardashian West, as well as the expressed interested of her family running the organization, has brought us to this decision.
“Over the last five years, we have put our students and our community first. We'd like to thank all of our supporters, and we assure you that our hearts have always been with the City of Chicago and we will continue to support youth in our future endeavors. We encourage Kim and Kanye to indeed pick up the baton of service.”
The late Donda West, Kanye’s mother, who held a Doctorate in Education and worked as an English Professor, was known for giving back to the community. She founded Loop Dreams, a program that installed recording studios in pubic schools to encourage musically gifted students. West died in 2007 of complications following cosmetic surgery. Donda’s House was established to continue her work.
According to Donda’s House, they have sought to distance themselves from the controversy-courting rapper since he made his statements regarding slavery, though they recognize that West initially helped the organization financially in 2011. The organization says that the rapper helped secure a donation from the Louis Vuitton Foundation for $133,000, yet alleges that since that time, he has been absent and Donda’s House has had to fend for itself, receiving only occasional support from rappers like No ID, Big Sean, Big K.R.I.T., and others.
The organization also feared that a boycott of West would be a boycott of Donda’s House, saying, “We ask that as you boycott and protest Kanye West, that you do not forget that we are a non-profit organization that like other non-profits needs donations, corporate support, and volunteers. We do not want your rejection of Kanye West, to be a rejection of Dr. Donda West and the thousands of lives she impacted including her own son."
According to their most recent tax filing, Donda’s House received only $206,023 in 2015, which is seemingly a small amount given that a multi-platinum rapper’s name is linked to the organization. According to executive director Donnie Smith, the organization’s tax filings for 2016 and 2017 are not yet available, though the IRS requires that nonprofits make their last three years of annual reports available on demand. Also, Donda’s House would have been expected to file its 2016 taxes by November 15, 2017.
Despite Kardashian’s implication that Rhymefest, also known as Che Smith, was simply a Kanye groupie, he is a noted artist in his own right, having won a Grammy for Best Rap Song in 2014 for "New Slaves," which he co-wrote with West for the album Yeezus. Rhymefest also won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for co-writing Glory with John Legend and Common for the 2014 film Selma.
As for his “fake” activism, Rhymefest placed second in the February 22, 2011, election for Chicago's 20th ward alderman, obtaining 45.4 percent of the vote. He has also hosted a "Truth & Reconciliation" event in Chicago, which focused on gun violence awareness.
Despite Rhymefest’s attempts to keep Donda’s House going, yesterday it was reported that the organization had been given a status of “Not Good Standing” by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. The status was awarded, according to an official from the Secretary of State’s office, because the organization had failed to file its annual report on April 1. Donda’s House has been given five months to rectify the situation. If it fails to do so, the organization will be dissolved.
It is speculated that Rhymefest was aware of this issue, which would further explain his beef with West. On Memorial Day, Donda’s House issued a statement saying they were changing their name, apparently siding with Rhymefest.