Kanye West’s Donda Academy Is Already Under Fire After 1 Student’s Father Can’t Find His Son

Kanye West has expanded his empire beyond music. The Grammy-winning rapper has created his own fashion company, a forthcoming line of electronics, and much more. He even created a school in southern California aimed at training the leaders of tomorrow.

Kanye West is seen at ‘DONDA by Kanye West’ listening event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Kanye West | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Universal Music Group

Kanye West opened Donda Academy for promising young people

West’s school in Simi Valley, California is named after his mother, an educator and the chairwoman of Chicago State University’s Department of English, Communications, Media, and Theater. Donda Academy is a one-of-a-kind school complete with its own basketball team. 

“Using an ethic of integrity and care, Donda Academy prepares students to become the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and innovators by providing them with a world-class education that includes a rigorous core curriculum, and an emphasis on sustainability, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving,” a statement on its website reads. 

Donda Academy is also “focused on equipping students with an education that will last in the ever-changing world” and is set on “finding the intersection between faith and innovation of the future.”

Kanye West poses for photographers while wearing black sunglasses, a gold chain, and black jacket.
Kanye West | Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

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1 of Donda Academy’s students has gone missing

Donda Academy has already started recruiting basketball players, including North Carolina high schooler Robert Dillingham. But according to Hollywood Unlocked, Dillingham’s father, Donald, claimed that he hasn’t heard from his son in the three weeks since they visited the school.

Donald said that he hasn’t permitted his son to move from North Carolina to California to attend the school, despite his mother allowing him to visit. The concerned father called the school and spoke with Shayla Scott, Director of Athletics & Academics for Donda Academy.

According to the released audio of the phone call, Scott told him that they were informed not to speak with him. He also learned from the news that Kanye West had contacted Robert directly and allegedly pressured him to come to the school. West reportedly FaceTimed Robert and asked, “Are you coming here or are you going to let [this opportunity] go?”

Meanwhile, Robert’s mother has been avoiding Donald’s questions, with him alleging that West paid her for their son’s attendance. Donald is supportive of his son’s budding basketball career but continues to seek answers about his son.

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Donda Academy recruited other star athletes

Dillingham is just one of Donda Academy’s teenage stars that they’ve already signed. One promising player, Jakhi Howard, confirmed his move to the school on Instagram, saying, “I will be moving to California and I will be transferring to Donda Academy.” 

A 6-foot-7 high school junior from Indiana, Jalen Hooks told the Indianapolis Star that moving to California to play for Donda Academy was a no-brainer. “It’s just one of those things you can’t pass up,” he said. “It was more of a family decision too. All of us just felt like it was a chance to reach my full potential and grow and get ready for the college level.”

One player confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that West was indeed reaching out to players himself over Instagram. “It’s crazy that he reached out,” he said. “But he’s building a good team with players that I want to play with and it’s out in LA in a good market so it’s something me and my family have to think about.”