“This is the mother of my children, and I apologize for any stress that I have caused, even in my frustration, because God calls me to be stronger,” Ye, the recording artist and entrepreneur formerly known as Kanye West, said in an exclusive morning interview that aired Thursday on “Good Morning America.” “I need this person to be less stressed and of the best, sound mind and as calm as possible to be able to raise those children at the end of the day.”
In a wide-ranging interview that covered Donda Academy, a school he started in California, to his plans to once again run for president, Ye repeatedly circled back to the responsibility that he has as a celebrity and his insistence that he have a say in the future of the four children he fathered with the global social media and reality TV star.
“As a dad and as a Christian. And I have a right to have a voice on what my kids are wearing, what they’re watching, what they’re eating,” he said. “I have a platform where I get to say what so many dads can’t say out loud.”
Relationship with his children
Ye said he “absolutely” wants his children to attend Donda Academy, “a gospel school” he created named after Donda West, his late mother who chaired the Department of English, Communications, Media Arts and Theatre at Chicago State University on Chicago’s South Side. She died in 2007.
“I’m their dad. It has to be co-parenting. It’s not up to only the woman. Like, men have a choice also. Men’s voices matter,” he said.
The private school, which Ye said was originally named the Yeezy Christian Academy, is located in Simi Valley, California. According to the school’s website, the academy’s mission is to help students “learn fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes.”
Ye said the school gives “kids practical tools that they need in a world post the iPhone being created.” He said the school is in its third year and has an enrollment of 82 students.
“So many schools are made to set kids up for industries that don’t even matter anymore,” he said, pointing out that the focus areas of the school is “on practical skills” such as engineering, computer programming and farming. He added that the school has tutors who focus on specific areas and could “actually turn your kids into, like, geniuses.”
“And if your kids are geniuses … they’re three grade levels ahead,” he added.
Ye told ABC News he hired a female basketball coach to help improve the skills of North, his 9-year-old daughter. He also helps coach North “every morning,” he said. The effort, Ye added, showed dramatic results. “She trained every day and I really stayed on her. And when she came back, she had the confidence,” he said.
Exiting the Gap
Ye, who created the fashion brand Yeezy, also addressed the dissolving of his partnership with the Gap. Last week, Ye sent the Gap a letter terminating the 10-year partnership, saying the clothing retailer breached its contract to sell his Yeezy Gap line of apparel. Ye said he plans to open his own line of stores simply called YZY.
Mark Breitbard, Gap brand president and CEO, said the company and West are “not aligned” in how they work together, according to a memo sent to employees and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. “Simply put…while we share a vision how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned,” Breitbard wrote, according to the Journal.
In addition to criticizing the Gap, Ye has recently criticized Adidas, a retailer that carries his apparel. Ye has been working with the athletic brand since their partnership was announced in 2016, but lashed out at Adidas when the brand released its Adilette 22 sandals, which resemble Ye’s Yeezy slides. Ye called their footwear “a fake Yeezy.”
“It was all kind of a disregard for the voice of something that I co-created. I co-created the product at Adidas. I co-created the product at Gap,” Ye said.
“That means that I was there for some specific agenda, not for Yeezy Gap to be everything that it could be, or this dream that I had about what the Gap could be,” he said. “It’s time for me to make my own thing.”
Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted said in August that West was probably the most important partner the company had, according to the Wall Street Journal. Adidas is trying to find a path toward continuing the partnership, the paper reported.
Since his ongoing battle with Adidas, Ye said he’s determined to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of his brand.
“We had to level up,” Ye said. “Really show ’em who’s the new boss in town, that I’m the boss of me. I’m no longer just the man ridin’ atop the polo horse. I’m not just a mascot in the middle of the games, gettin’ the crowd hyped up sayin’, ‘Hey, wear this, do this,’ but you know, just learn financial engineering. Learn how to — learn how to really run a company.”
Ye added that he plans to move forward with an Oct. 3 fashion show in Paris that was initially planned in conjunction with the Gap. He secured a new producer for the event, he said, via Instagram.
Today, YZY Gap engineered by Balenciaga announced a new line of outerwear and knitwear, which will be made available online. YZY Gap engineered by Balenciaga also announced that YZY Gap will be available at stores outside of the U.S. for the first time at Gap’s Tokyo and Shanghai flagship stores.
Potentially, another presidential run
In November 2020, Ye conceded his run for president. He had loaned $6.8 million to his 2020 presidential committee, essentially self-funding his campaign during the first month and a half of his run, according to a Federal Election Commission disclosure filing.
Ye said he “absolutely” plans to run for president again but did not specify when.
“That time wasn’t in God’s time,” he said.
Ye said he is often misunderstood because of his adamancy for his Christian faith, which drives him to perform “Sunday Service” with a gospel choir at different locations around the U.S. He said he’s a “radical” for wanting to promote “the idea of family, the idea of God, the idea of protecting your children’s innocence for as long as possible.”
“When you remove the love and fear of God, you open up the love and fear of everything else. And it’s easier to have sheep when people don’t have God. It’s easier to control the people if people are not controlled by God. Because then they can be controlled by how many likes they have or whatever’s happening on their TikTok or how much money or the perception that people have,” he said.
“But we only have one audience here and that audience is God. And He’s watching us at all times,” Ye said. “He’s got my back.”