Kanye West’s Non-Profit Donda’s House Launches Music Writing/Recording Program for At-Risk Youth

Kanye West emerged from Chicago to become one of the greatest and most prolific rappers of our time—now he’s extending the training necessary to follow in his footsteps to today’s youth. West’s non-profit Donda’s House—named in honor of his late mother Donda West—has announced a partnership with Rhymefest to launch a program called “Got Bars?” that’s targeted at 15 to 24 year-olds who are at-risk. Spanning 10 weeks, the program will teach the students how to write and record music.

The executive director of Donda’s House, Donnie Smith will be a teacher in the program. He believes that learning the processes behind writing and recording music will help young people develop much needed problem-solving skills.

“Art instruction and particularly music instruction leads people to become better problem solvers, more flexible,” Smith said. “There are just so many outcomes that come from the study of music and particularly music writing.”

Students will be able to apply to the program until August 2 and the program itself will be based out of St. Sabina’s Church. Aside from the musical training, there will also be an emphasis on health and wellness. Smith spoke at length about the effort in an interview with Jet magazine, stating that he thinks the demographic they’re targeting is the one that needs the most help, and best reflects the concerns that Dr. Donda West held.

“We think that 15 to 24-year-olds… they are in the most need of help,” Smith said. “We want to get kids in high school, that young adult age range who are confused about where they are in life. We want to give them direction… so many people have just given up on that demographic. And I would add that Dr. Donda West was passionate about the high school dropout rate. We want to be working to help with that at the younger age of that spectrum.”

(WBEZ/Pitchfork)