Kanye West is a figurehead for music and creativity. Swag and betterment. The ego, and the extremes of modern day absurdity. And now he offers DONDA.
So yesterday Urban Times’ interest was piqued when the Kanye West camp announced his new stranger than fiction venture. Kanye took to twitter and over an intense three-hour period, poured out his insights into music, creativity, and society’s broken systems, including schooling and government in an epic slew of tweets (The Hollywood Reporter calculated more than 70 tweets in three hours). Most importantly he expatiated on his new company.
The name of the company is DONDA
And the scope of DONDA is truly Kanye-sized.
What is Donda?
At first glance, it is a fashion, design and lifestyle brand. Kanye is the ultimate fashionista, but he has also long harboured a passion for design and the fashion industry itself.
I’ve been working at this for 8 years now …from the first offers to do urban clothing lines that I turned down…
He’s worked with Louis Vutton and Nike in a creative capacity in the pastand has even interned under Fendi, but he still hasn’t fully indulged those creative instincts.
I designed a sneaker called the YEEZY with Nike. I’m “allowed” to design 1 pair of sneakers every 2 years. I have more ideas…”
And those ideas will be explored in full with his new venture. But it seems that he is keen for us to know that DONDA is more than just surface-deep.
I know this is not a very rapper thing to say but I haven’t bought a new car or piece of jewelry in about 2 years…
Donda was, afterall, named in memory of Kanye’s mother Dr Donda West, a Professor of English who retired from academia to manage her son’s career before she died in surgery in 2007. Although he didn’t specify it in so many words DONDA seems to be Kanye’s ambitious concept of a Think Tank. The goal in some unusually modest words from the genius:
… to put creatives in a room together with like minds that are all waaaay doper than me… to make products and experiences that people want and can afford…
…To dream of, create, advertise and produce products driven equally by emotional want and utilitarian need.. To marry our wants and needs.
DONDA, according to Kanye, is aligning the interests of exactly the sorts of people that Urban Times loves to talk to, and hopes to have them doing exactly the sorts of things we love to talk about.
What’s really astounding is the scale of the endeavour. It is a project of magnificent proportions comprising “22 divisions”.
I am assembling a team of architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts… app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionist … doctors, scientist,teachers…
We need scientist and top world designers to directly affect governments.
As he makes clear in his summary tweet of Jan 5th, Kanye was inspired by Irish playwright, journalist and muscian George Bernard Shaw and motivated by the facilitation of ideas exchange. Shaw was also the founder of the London School of Economics.
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. ….
..But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
So DONDA is a Think Tank headed by one of the most controversial, popular and wacky personalities of the 21st century. If Kanye’s greatest artistic work was “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy“, then perhaps DONDA is the icon’s Beautiful Bright Wishful Fantasy.
Or perhaps, by combining such a prominent personal brand as Kanye with a selection of other brilliant minds, Kanye might just have the formula to push beyond fantasy.
My area of expertise is in music, my passion is in music design film and products… my strength is connectivity…
Can you think of any other music superstar but Kanye who would be so bold as to come up with a company concept that involves bringing together today’s top minds from every industry in hopes of bettering the world?
Perhaps he read Steve Jobs’ Biography and decided to “put a dent in the universe”, or perhaps when Time Magazine introduced the Protester as the person of the year, Kanye knew they were talking about him. He has been protesting pretty consistently all this time, afterall.
Modern Day Philanthropist, Futurist?
It appears that 2012 is Kanye’s year to prove himself as both futurist and philanthropist. We are so excited by the optimism and forward-thinking content of Ye’s tweets that we’ve re-published almost all of them. Forgive his grammar…. he just get’s excited.
I wanted to put this in the world in hopes that the people who can actually make a difference will stand up and reach out
We want to help simplify and aesthetically improve everything we see hear, touch, taste and feel.
We can collectively effect the world trough design. We need to pick up where steve jobs left off
Help education. School systems were designed to turn people into factory workers.
Schools should be designed to prep human beings for real life.
Instead of kicking kids out of schools for using there iPhones… why not promote it? Allow kids to use search engines to do test…
Spike Jonze and I want to do a Summer school that tries new forms of cuuriculim
I’m currently working on a new seven-screen experience… it’s a semi sic-fi