Kanye West’s cult-like Donda Academy is shutting down for the ’22-23 school year

One of the most disturbing stories involving Kanye West this year was the formation of his “Donda Academy,” an unaccredited “school” where kids are thrust into some kind of cult-like atmosphere and made to sing and learn Bible verses or something. Honestly, it was upsetting to hear anything about Donda Academy, but the idea that parents were truly sending their kids there? Like, I’m sorry, but those parents are f–king idiots and sending their kids there is a form of child abuse. As everything has fallen apart for Kanye professionally, it looks like he’s shutting down his cult school now too:

Parents whose children attend Kanye West’s school in Southern California have been told it has closed with immediate effect as the controversy surrounding the rapper over his antisemitic comments continues to snowball. In an email viewed by The Times, the principal of Donda Academy, Jason Angell, said that “at the discretion of our Founder, Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately”.

“THERE IS NO SCHOOL TOMORROW,” the email adds referring to Thursday.

Donda Academy, which is named after West’s late mother, charges $15,000 a year and requires parents to sign non-disclosure agreements to prevent leaks. Its exact location in Simi Valley is a closely guarded secret while students wear uniforms made by the luxury fashion design house Balenciaga. The school promises a faith-based education with the promotion of Christian values alongside a “rigorous core curriculum”. As well as subjects such as science and maths, the curriculum allows time for “full school worship” while the “enrichment courses” include film, choir and parkour, an activity involving jumping over and off objects in urban environments.

The lack of transparency has raised concerns with experts, who have said they would be wary of advising parents to send their children to a school that is cloaked in secrecy.

Yesterday, amid the controversy surrounding West, a prestigious high school basketball tournament said it would not include Donda Academy’s team, which had attracted much attention for picking up some of the country’s top prospects.

In the email to parents, Angell said the school plans to “begin afresh in September of 2023”.

[From The Times]

A complete sh-tshow, everywhere you look. Kanye conned those parents, and the parents were f–king morons. Those poor kids. I hope the state of California finds some way to shut this down completely if Kanye tries to restart the academy next year. I can’t even find humor in this situation – the Donda Academy children were exposed to a bigoted narcissist’s cult school and they need to see a child psychologist. I do hope Kanye is sued over this and that the state gets involved.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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52 Responses to “Kanye West’s cult-like Donda Academy is shutting down for the ’22-23 school year”

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  1. A says:

    Would LOVE to know who paid Kanye West $15,000 to educate their child in the year 2022. What, exactly, did they think they were going to get out of it because there’s no way they thought it would be a solid educational experience. So what was worth setting those kids back developmentally?

    • Maddy says:

      They all had to sign NDAs, but Keyshia Cole posted her son in a Donda uniform. The Ace family (go figure) reportedly sent their daughter to the school as well.

      • A says:

        Well I guess that tracks, really. Reality stars (Cole’s not still making music is she?) and YouTubers. All bad.

    • Colby says:

      MADDY below put it perfectly: “ They really sent their kids to his “school” for their Balenciaga uniforms and the clout that comes with being near Kanye.”

      Plus many Christians see the word “Christian” and automatically assume whatever the thing is, it’s inherently good and run by good/good hearted people. It’s wild.

    • Josephine says:

      Plenty of people send their kids to awful religious schools where the only goal is extreme indoctrination. And frankly, going to public school in Texas or Florida doesn’t seem related to education anymore.

      • Chaine says:

        Yeah, I was sent to a Xian church’s “school” as a kid, it was a lot of memorizing Bible verses and hymns before I even learned to read, and learning to read was based around Bible stories, so Donda Academy is probably not much different from the norm in that world. There was one teacher for grades K-3 at the school I went to, probably about thirty kids in one room and somehow she was supposed to be educating us all at our different grade levels. I didn’t learn any math or science beyond counting until we moved and I got put in public school.

    • Jennifer says:

      I assume they were in it for the fame.

      This makes me want to Nelson Muntz point and HAH HAH!!!!!!!!! I love how he’s shut down the school and it’s only October. Hope y’all get better (legitimate) educations elsewhere!

      Kids are probably YAY NO SCHOOL though.

  2. Haylie says:

    Only a complete fool would’ve sent their kids to this scammer school.

  3. Unicorn with a Sweet Tooth says:

    I wish the Black community rallied to make this change happen, but so many of us are still talking about “it’s part of his master plan/he’s a genius “

    • trillion says:

      why do people include his name and the word “genius” in the same sentence? On what level is he a “genius”. I really do want to know.

      • Colby says:

        Apparently he is considered a musical genius by those in the industry. I can neither confirm or deny that as I lack the knowledge to make that assessment, but that’s the reason.

      • Chantal says:

        @Trillion. I don’t get it either. I think Kanye is creative and talented but I don’t think he’s a musical genius. And I’ve never been a fan.

      • JaneBee says:

        @Chantal The same people who think Elon Musk is a tech ‘genius’ and Donald Trump is a business ‘genius’ 🤦🏼‍♀️

    • Lululu says:

      Your hero does something you can’t defend? It must be part of their genius master plan, which we mortals are not meant to understand. I know a certain former president conservatives like to say that about too.

      The mental gymnastics are extraordinary. And terrifying.

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t get the genius thing either, but I am also definitely not his audience, and the way he acts outside of music is pure goddamned moron.

      Also, from what i have read, the music he’s produced the last few years sounds…rather incoherent.

    • theotherviv says:

      This. The Kanye reaction vides on my youtube feed are flooded with commentary stating he planned it all and it’s all part of his master plan to free himself to either help with the divorce or make himself richer. It is sad how the community pretends to stand by him without acknowledging his mental state and needs.

  4. Bettyrose says:

    I have so many questions. How does one just start a school? Accreditation takes a long time.

    • Andie says:

      It would have been set up as a charter school 10000%

    • Colby says:

      It isn’t accredited

    • Lala11_7 says:

      @Bettyrose…thanks to DECADES of GOP polticians watering down the education infrastructure to open their fascist Evangelical based schools…Accreditation is easy AS HELL now

    • A says:

      I’d bet it’s less difficult if you don’t bother with accreditation!

      Who’s like, yes I will send my child and a check for five figures to Kanye West for a highly secretive religious education that can’t possibly help them achieve future education? That’s what I can’t get over. Some people have too much money.

      • Debbie says:

        Ah, but don’t forget having to sign the Non-disclosure Agreement — to send your child to be with strangers in school every day. Can you imagine what goes through a parent’s mind when signing that?

      • Fabiola says:

        The parents sending their kids to Donda just want their kids to break into show biz. I doubt they care about education or religion. If it was about religion there are plenty of accredited Christian schools out there.

    • Josephine says:

      GOP made sure that nothing is required anymore, funneling our taxes to charter schools that get to do what they want. They want the public education system to fail so they’re happy to allow anyone to pretend to run a school.

    • bettyrose says:

      I don’t know why I should be surprised. Despite having some of the best school districts nationwide, California has many of the worst, and many of our “accredited” public schools are overcrowded, underfunded, and also not preparing students for a future. One thing California does really well is our excellent three tiered higher ed system; it’s not unheard of at all for a student with minimal academic skills to spend 3 or so years at a CC and transfer well prepared to one of the four year systems. I guess it doesn’t matter if the school is unaccredited if a student can either 1. excel on standardized tests or 2. earn a GED? But that also shouldn’t mean that anyone with a large enough bank account can open a school in their own vision. That sounds more like a cult.

  5. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Maybe he can get Jared Leto to run it.

  6. Maddy says:

    I’m so mad at the parents. They really sent their kids to his “school” for their Balenciaga uniforms and the clout that comes with being near Kanye. Irresponsible morons. Took them out of their previous schools and familiar environments for this scam, only to have to re-apply in the middle of the school year.

    The only plus side to this is that it shut down so quickly. Imagine children “graduating” from his school years from now, only to be sent away from all universities or job opportunities, because their degree isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. Smh.

    • Swack says:

      This is more the middle of a semester which in my opinion is worse – especially the middle school and high school students. Imagine entering a class half way through the semester with no real knowledge of what was taught the first half of the semester. What “math and science” classes are being taught at Donda and what is the content of those classes? Those students have lost at least a half of year of schooling.

      • Maddy says:

        The school closed today, but will the kids be able to just walk into another classroom on Monday? Assuming that some, if not most of the parents will want to enroll their children in private schools, I could see them not being able to attend another school for weeks, if not months.

        Either way, I feel sorry for the children.

      • Good question. Swack says:

        Good question. I know my grandchildren switched public schools because they moved. They were in class within a day or two. It can be done quickly because everything is on computers. It will be more difficult for these children depending on what the structure of the courses were. I.e. for high schoolers – did they just teach math in general or was there structured classes such as Algebra 1 and geometry. And it will take longer to figure our what class they belong in based on what the content of their classes at Donda was. Elementary students shouldn’t have as much trouble but could, again based on what content they were taught. As far as going to another private school – I would think it would be harder to get in there than a public school. And yes, once again the children are the ones being screwed.

  7. MC2 says:

    While I agree that any parent is nuts to send their kid there, I bet the parents of the kids on the basketball team were sought out, convinced & given lots…of false promises. Those players were slated for college ball but what now??? Messing with kid’s futures is a new low.

    • bettyrose says:

      Wait a minute, are we talking class action lawsuit? That seems reasonable if kids have had their college scholarship plans negatively impacted. I hope Kanye’s back accounts have something left for those kids after the smoke clears.

  8. Nicegirl says:

    I have been wondering about this also. I hope the kids will be ok with all of this weirdness and upheaval.

    K. That was so fast between the ask by commenters on the Skechers post to this article being posted. Unbelievable and awesome

  9. Solidgold says:

    A lot of people should be sued, not just Kanye. Parents who enrolled their children should be questioned too.

  10. Char says:

    Kudos to the parents who sent their kids to a school owned by someone who proudly says to had never read a book and get dropped by email in the middle of school year. At least you got the ugly Balenciaga, right?

  11. Lynne says:

    Think he is refunding the $balance for the rest of the year?

  12. CopyPesto says:

    Are we all going to brush over the fact that parkour was a subject? 🤣

    I could totally see Kanye thinking he was creating a bunch of super agile Christian warriors at his little academy.

  13. ChillinginDC says:

    I have been calling out this school for months. What a waste of time and money. And these same parents will scream their kids are behind others.

  14. Molly says:

    A little round in the Pyramid winners circle:
    “NDAs in school…”
    “Don’t tell anyone…”
    “Come on in, kids…”

    …. “things a pedophile would say!”

  15. Lizzie Bathory says:

    Good. It’s a culty scam, but I’ve also been skeeved out by the NDAs & lack of accreditation. This reeks of a situation that would attract predators to work with kids. I seriously doubt the school will reopen next September.

  16. Chaine says:

    My guess, Kanye did not voluntarily close the school, probably more teachers quit making continued operation infeasible, and I bet some parents pulled their kids out too.

    • Lionel says:

      Would they, though? I mean, these are parents who thought sending their kids there was a good idea when the school year started in August. Kanye was already publicly melting down. Surely a little casual anti-Semitism wouldn’t change their minds.

      /s, obviously

  17. Wit+of+the+Staircase says:

    I live in Ventura County close to this so-called school. When I drive by there is never any cars in the parking lot and it looks deserted. A lot of speculation that it’s a tax front.

  18. Rice says:

    I attended denominational schools from age 5 to 17-18. There are lots of them here in Trinidad & Tobago. My school would have school assemblies at least 3 times per week where we sang hymns and heard/said bible readings. We even had a course once per week called Religious Instruction where the clergy would give bible lessons. As time passed, the school began recognising those of other faiths and they were excused from such events.

    After graduation, I learned more and more about other religions, and about agnostic and atheistic beliefs. I may be Christian, but it excites me to support and defend those who are not of my faith or who don’t believe in religion or God.

    My point is that schools like those heavily indoctrinate and insulate kids because the children’s minds are malleable at that age. Do they serve a purpose? Maybe. Besides religion, they focus heavily on academia, sports, and good virtues. But at what cost?

    In any case, Kanye West should absolutely not be running a school when he doesn’t demonstrate any of the teachings. And then there’s the lack of accreditation. The whole thing sounds like a giant grift.

  19. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    So HIS school’s “exact location in Simi Valley is a closely guarded secret” but he can put his OWN KID’S school location, name and all on blast?!?!?!
    Somebody make it make sense

  20. Angry Bird says:

    My goodness. What a stable environment for learning!

  21. jones says:

    I saw a couple headlines earlier that it’s re-opening. A second email was sent out, a few hours later. My god. The chaos.