Kanye West was not privileged to have grown up with both his parents. They finalized their divorce when he was three, but they were separated long before that, and his mother struggled to raise him.
His mother wanted the best for him and ensured he had positive male figures in his life. Donda West’s decision enabled Kanye to spend time with his father while learning from the man he later called his best friend.
Kanye West and his mother were so close that she wrote a book about raising him, and when she died, the singer blamed himself for her death. Here is a look into the life of Kanye West’s mother.
Kanye West grew up with his mother. Kanye’s parents, Ray and Donda West, were happily married for nearly four years before Kanye was born.
When Kanye was 11 months old, his parents separated due to significant differences of opinion. By the time he turned three, their divorce was final.
Donda revealed in her book “Raising Kanye” that she joined the majority of women who were single mothers, and it was a challenging experience. She said:
“It wasn’t all peaches and honey raising my son. There were many challenges.”
However, she saw the challenges she faced as opportunities to learn and grow. Donda understood that her challenges were a part of life.
She and Kanye lived in cities where they had no family members around. Meaning Donda had no relative to drop off Kanye with and knew he was safe.
Donda further revealed in her book that it was just she and Kanye, and she had to make it happen because no one would help drop her off at work or drop Kanye at the daycare when her car broke down.
Despite being a single mom, Donda did not raise Kanye alone. She knew it was vital for her son to have a male role model and positive male figures in his life.
To achieve this, she ensured he spent the summers with his father. He also had two grandfathers, uncles, and male friends with whom he could talk, share ideas, and learn how to be a man from them.
Donda, who wrote a book about her son months before she died, was grateful she had people who helped her raise a productive and healthy child.
KANYE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER
Kanye’s father, Ray, was known for his photography and was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ray was a member of the Black Panther Party. In the mid-2000s, he opened a Christian bookshop where proceeds from the bottled water he sold went to the local community.
Ray’s love for the community and the need to help made him move into a homeless shelter because he wanted to be close to the ex-drug addicts and help them.
Kanye grew up seeing his father every summer, but it was not until he was in his 40s that he realized his father was his best friend. Kanye said:
“It took me 42 years to realize that my dad was my best friend.”
Ray was a presence in Kanye’s life, so much so that Kanye sang about Ray in 2007 when he released the track “Champion” from the “Graduation” album.
KANYE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS MOTHER
When Kanye wanted to drop out of school, his mother, a university professor, supported his decision as she realized that school was getting in the way of her son’s talent.
The English professor retired from teaching and became Kanye’s manager to support her son further. She took care of Kanye’s business ventures and projects.
Donda was the chairwoman of The Kanye West Foundation and the chief executive of West brands. His mother was his most trusted ally, and she was great at being his manager.
The proof of this lay in the several Grammy awards Kanye won before becoming a world-famous star. As a mother, Donda knew that Kanye loved the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and collected his unique bears.
A multicolored bear reminded her of Kanye and his bear collection when she saw it. Donda bought the bear for Kanye, who did not like the bear so much at the time.
However, when she passed away a few weeks after gifting him the bear, he placed the bear on top of all the Takashi Murakami stuff he had.
KANYE TAKES THE BLAME FOR LOSING HIS MOTHER
Kanye always attributed his successes to his mother, and when she died at 58 in November 2007, the singer carried a heavy burden of guilt. He believed that if he had not moved to Los Angeles, his mother would still be alive.
“This lady shouldn’t be dead.”
A year after her death, the rapper revealed in his song “Pinocchio Story” that he was willing to give up everything he had achieved in life if it would bring his mother back.
THE DOCTOR REVEALED WHO WAS TO BLAME
After Donda’s death, her doctor claimed it was not his fault and blamed her nephew. Dr. Jan Adams, who performed her cosmetic surgery, saying he was set up “as the fall guy.”
He revealed that the surgery went ahead without any issues, and he asked Donda to remain at their medical facility until she had recovered.
However, Donda insisted that Kanye’s cousin, Stephan Scoggins, a nurse, would care for her at her home. Unfortunately, Scoggins left Donda alone and went for a baby shower when she died.
Dr. Adams stated that she choked to death because she was on her back. He further noted that she would not have died if Scoggins were around. He said:
“This lady shouldn’t be dead. All he had to do was sit her up.”
THE CAUSE OF DEATH
The coroners later revealed that Donda died of heart disease while suffering “multiple post-operative factors” a day after her liposuction and breast-reduction surgery.
However, after an autopsy, the coroners could not determine the exact role these factors played in her death following the plastic surgery. They revealed that there was no evidence of a surgical or anesthetic misadventure.
KANYE’S MOTHER, A MAJOR PART OF HIS LIFE
Even though his mother is no more, Kanye never fails to appreciate the woman who supported his dreams and was there for him. Over the years, he has paid tribute to her numerous times.
In 2005, he appreciated her with the release of “Hey Mama” from his “Late Registration” album. Long after her death, Kanye still honored his mother.
In 2008, when he released the song “Coldest Winter” from his “808s & Heartbreak” album, the rapper bid farewell to his mom with a touching tribute.
However, his mother’s influence on his life is always evident. On August 29, 2021, Kanye released his tenth studio album named after his mother.
On February 23, 2022, he released a sequel album called “Donda 2.” He also announced plans to open a prep school called Donda Academy.