- Late last month, Ye’s school, Donda Academy, abruptly announced that it would be closing amid the controversy.
- Insider found another location that the school tried to keep secret – and it was very busy on Tuesday.
- The children inside were wearing black Donda uniforms, and Ye himself was in the building.
Days after the principal of Ye’s private Christian school, Donda Academy, announced its closure, Insider spotted what appeared to be students and staff wearing the school’s signature black uniform at the secret location. from the academy, where Ye was also seen coming and going on Tuesday.
Until recently, it was widely understood that the campus was located in a rural part of Simi Valley, California, just outside of Los Angeles County. But a mandatory affidavit filed with the state Department of Education in October shows the address was changed to one in the San Fernando Valley, just north of the heart of Los Angeles, about 20 miles from campus. of origin.
The building’s location is indistinct and quiet, belying any indication of fame, status or the scandal that has plagued the music mogul in recent weeks.
The insider withholds the name of the school’s neighboring cosmetics brand and has blurred the image to preserve students’ privacy.
Email records obtained by Insider show that Tamar Andrews, a former administrator at Donda Academy, asked a state Department of Education official to remove the school’s new address from the public directory in September 2022, noting that the public’s interest in the rapper meant that “All the media in the world would love to have a photo or video of our campus, our students, our faculty and especially our founder.”
If the information were public, “paparazzi will be stalking our building and could pose a serious threat to the safety of our children and staff,” Andrews wrote.
But on Tuesday, all seemed quiet at the address registered for Donda Academy, the college business of the “College Dropout” rapper, which is named after his late mother, Donda West.
An Insider reporter saw about 20 to 30 children and adults gathered inside the building, wearing the all-black uniform sporting a white dove – the school mascot – on the back of their shirts. October records show 82 students enrolled in the school.
In the late afternoon, parents in luxury cars discreetly collected their children from a side entrance while other children were transported in a Mercedes-Benz sprinter bus. The windows and main entrance were mirrored and blocked with gym mats, partially obscuring the view.
A parent driving an SUV, who spoke briefly with Insider on condition of anonymity, said Donda Academy was indeed up and running and operating like a “typical school.” He suggested that media reports about Donda were misleading.
“Not everything you read is what they say,” he said.
“I love it!” her daughter shouted from the passenger side of the car.
Ye, driven by a man in a black Maserati, also stopped at the site around 2:30 p.m. local time and spent about two hours inside the building before driving off in another car. It is unclear what he was doing there and security officers said he would not be available for questions.
Donda Academy did not respond to a request for comment.
But four employees of various businesses in the complex where Donda Academy was located said they believed the school was housed there, although they didn’t know much beyond that and sometimes provided details that contradicted each other.
shrouded in mystery
Ever since its inception, Donda Academy has been shrouded in mystery – from the school’s curriculum to Ye’s level of involvement in the private academy.
According to Rolling Stone, parents are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, preventing them from revealing details about the unaccredited school, which costs $15,000 a year.
The academy was originally registered with the state as a private school with an address in Simi Valley in October 2021 and had 21 students enrolled for the year, according to a California Department of Education affidavit obtained by Insider.
The Donda Academy website reveals a preview of what the program offers: daily worship sessions, followed by core classes and extracurricular activities such as choir and parkour. But it’s unclear if it reflects the most up-to-date information.
Over the past month, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has come under fire after donning a ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt, falsely insisting George Floyd died of a drug overdose and made repeated anti-Semitic comments. He has since apologized for what he said about Floyd’s death, but doubled down on his anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Backlash, including companies like Adidas, Balenciaga and Gap that are pulling out of their corporate partnerships with Ye, followed his recent comments.
Andrews, who also teaches at two Jewish institutions, resigned from the school Oct. 11.
“The only statement I want to make is that I intended to stand up, not stand out,” Andrews told Insider in an email.
On Thursday, Donda Academy principal Jason Angell suddenly announced that the school would be closing for the school year.
“First, we would like to express our gratitude to the community of families and scholars that Donda Academy has brought together,” Angell wrote in an email to parents sent Oct. 27. “However, at the discretion of our Founder, Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately, Thursday, October 27. THERE IS NO SCHOOL TOMORROW.”
Hours later, a report by TMZ said the school was reversing its decision.
However, Ye’s problems with school didn’t seem to end there. On Sunday, he posted a graphic photo of Emmett Till on Instagram with a caption that Donda Academy needed a location “properly zoned for a school.”
“I have about 60 children who have no place to go as they seek to transfer,” he wrote.