A recently released short documentary titled “Empowerment” tracks Chicago rapper Rhymefest’s experience as the Creative Director of Donda’s House. The program, named after the mother of Kanye West, is a youth art instruction program.
“It’s important to make the sharing of information fun,” Rhymefest says in the short film. “For me, being of service, as No I.D. would say, is better than being self-serving. I get more out of being of service to others.
“I open my home because Donda’s House is a family,” he adds. “It’s more than a program. We add new family members every twelve weeks. A lot of times before these young people come to me, they’ve already been through a lifetime of trauma. I don’t know what kind of trauma they’ve been through, but just like all families we argue, we love, but we build together, we eat together, we grow together.”
The documentary shows footage of Donda’s House participants gathered at Rhymefest’s house. Speaking on his motivation to empower, Rhymefest explains wanting to share the industry knowledge he’s gleaned through the years.
“I believe that the only power, the only true power, is the power to empower others,” he says. “If you can’t give somebody something where they can be self-sufficient without you, then you have no power.
“The information that I give to young people I work with is empowering them to be able to navigate the industry without me around,” he continues. “That’s power. I’m giving them power. I’m empowering them. That’s, to me, being of service, the distribution of power. What is power to me? Information, knowledge, experience, wisdom. I don’t have to hoard it, I have it to give it.”
Earlier this year, Rhymefest spoke with HipHopDX about the Donda's House initiative.
“I threw it out to Kanye, and said we needed an artist development wing of Donda’s World, which was his bigger vision,” he said. “We need something that spreads education and art. The fact that you have high schoolers that can go to football or basketball and the school supports them and it helps them get to college. What are we doing in the realm of music? There are more young people now that are into that than they are into athletics, so how are we supporting that? He thought it was a great idea. We created a non-profit, raised all the money—we didn’t ask Kanye for no money—and got it started.”
Separately, Rhymefest also released an official music video dubbed “4th of July” in dedication to the armed forces through the lens of a single narrative.