A Chicago-based nonprofit originally named after Kanye West’s late mother now has a new name: Art of Culture Inc.
The name change comes in the wake of recent comments from the rapper, who, among things, backed President Donald Trump in a series of tweets in April and, days later, said slavery was a choice during an appearance on “TMZ Live.”
“Over the last few months, due to Mr. West’s controversial public political statements, the organization received communications of concern from sponsors, foundations and supporters,” officials with the non-profit said in a statement Tuesday.
“Students, alumni, volunteers and staff of the group met Saturday to discuss recent developments and the future of the organization. The group decided that the organization will maintain its mission, but will have a new name both to avoid confusion and honor the stated wishes of the West family.”
The former Donda House was named after the rapper’s mother, Chicago State University professor Donda West. It was founded seven years ago by former Chicago Public Schools teacher Donnie Smith and Chicago native Rhymefest, whose real name is Che Smith.
In recent days, Rhymefest and West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, have sparred publicly on Twitter over the future of the non-profit, which says it has supported some 500 city youth with artistic endeavors since 2011.
Rhymefest accused West of abandoning the organization, alleging the rapper “was more interested in his [upcoming] record.”
Kardashian shot back that Smith had mismanaged the organization and she vowed that she would “make it my mission to take Donda’s House from you and let my children run it the way it should be run!”