Chicago-based nonprofit Donda’s House issued a statement Friday distancing itself from co-founder Kanye West after a controversial series of statements from the rapper pledging his support to President Donald Trump.
“While we cannot and do not speak for Kanye West and his views, we can and will speak up for the youth that we serve,” Donda’s House said in a statement. “We ask that those who feel hurt, angered by or frustrated with Kanye West not penalize or throw away their support, respect and advocacy for us.”
The organization was co-founded in 2011 by West, former Chicago Public Schools teacher Donnie Smith and rapper Rhymefest, whose real name is Che Smith. It was named in honor of West’s late mother and former Chicago State University professor Donda West, aiming to support aspiring young musicians in the city.
The foundation is now asking the public to refrain from associating Donda’s House with the actions and statements of its namesake’s son.
“We ask that as you boycott and protest Kanye West, that you not forget that we are a non-profit organization that like other non-profits needs donations, corporate support and volunteers,” the statement said. “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.”
Donda’s House is currently trying to convert West’s childhood home into a recording studio, museum and learning space. However, the foundation hasn’t received any financial support from West despite repeatedly trying to reach out to him, the foundation says.
Smith sent a pair of tweets Saturday asking Canadian rapper Drake to “help the part of Chicago Kanye has Abandoned.” On Friday, Drake sent West’s record label an invoice for $100,000 he claimed he was owed for “promotional assistance and career reviving,” according to an Instagram post.
Smith — an award-winning songwriter who was narrowly defeated by incumbent Willie Cochran in a 2011 runoff for 20th Ward alderman — proposed that Drake use the money to renovate West’s childhood home.
“I spoke to Kanye about it,” Smith tweeted to Drake. “His response was ‘f— the youth of Chicago.’ ”