Here’s everything you need to know about Kanye West’s parents
One of his iconic albums is named after his mum
Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy was *finally* released on Netflix this morning (16th February) after three years’ worth of hype and promotion. The first instalment detailed the rapper’s rise to fame in 2002 – from selling beats to performing at arenas.
Kanye’s mum, Donda West, featured heavily throughout the episode. Despite having numerous songs dedicated to his parents (even an entire album), no-one knows a huge amount about them. So – who are Kanye West’s parents? What did they do before Kanye became one of the world’s greatest rappers, and where are they now?
Who are Kanye West’s parents?
Donda and Ray West divorced in 1980, when Kanye was three years old. Before Kanye pursued his career in New York, he spoke in the documentary about his mum working as an English teacher. He claimed it helped him with his flow and ability to write lyrics.
Ray worked several jobs in the late 20th century. He was passionate about civil rights, becoming a member of the Black Panthers (a hard-left black power movement) in the 1960s, and working as the first black photojournalist thereafter. He took photos of then-president Ronald Reagan for newspapers, as well as poet Maya Angelou.
Where are they now?
Ray West reportedly lives in the Dominican Republic and runs a charity for victims of sex trafficking. He also runs a water treatment charity called the Good Water Foundation. His second ex-wife, Brenda Bentley, said: “He’s doing good. He’s financing the work himself.”
He spent time at home with Kanye, Kim and the kids in 2018 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. When he went into remission, he moved back to the Dominican Republic in order to continue his charity work.
Donda West sadly died in 2007 at the age of 58, after undergoing cosmetic surgery with an undiagnosed heart condition. The then-California governor Arnold Schwartzenegger created Donda’s Law, which states that anyone planning on getting cosmetic surgery must go through mandatory health checks first.