Video of Children Singing Kanye West's Song at Donda Academy Divides Fans

A video Kanye West has shared of what appeared to be children at his school, Donda Academy, performing one of his songs has sparked debate on social media.

Late Sunday night, the musician and fashion designer, who has legally changed his name to Ye, posted a clip on TikTok of children of various ages standing before a choir director performing an adapted rendition of his 2007 track "Good Morning."

In the clip, which can be viewed at the top of this article, the children were shown repeatedly chanting "Good morning, Donda," before another section of the choir started singing the distinctive melody from West's song.

Kanye West shares video from Donda Academy
Kanye West is pictured on October 02, 2022, in Paris, France. A TikTok video posted by the musician and fashion designer apparently showing students at his school, Donda Academy, singing a rendition of one of his songs, has divided fans. Edward Berthelot/GC Images;/YUICHI YAMAZAKI/AFP via Getty Images

Wearing a black ensemble that included a hoodie and heavy-duty boots, West, 45, was seen throughout the clip capturing footage of the action on his smartphone.

Based in Simi Valley, California, Christian preparatory private school Donda Academy—which is named after West's late mother, professor Donda West—says on its website that its mission is to "prepare students to become the next generation of leaders."

A number of West's TikTok followers appeared to embrace this philosophy in their reactions to the clip, with one writing: "Creating the future billionaires."

"You all know Kanye is setting these kids up for success," another said. "I just know their curriculum is A1. Mrs. Donda was a great teacher!"

"I think they'll be singing during his show in Paris," predicted one follower, while another wrote: "Ok, I'd have another kid if they can attend Donda. That's it..."

However, there was also a wave of criticism among the social media users, with one commenting "It's giving Stranger Things' Papa," in reference to a character in the hit Netflix show who subjected a host of children to experiments.

Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and their children
Kanye West and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, are pictured with two of their four children, (L-R) North West and Saint West, on December 21, 2019, in New York City. Per a text message exchange shared by Kanye West, the former couple's children do not attend Donda Academy. TheStewartofNY/GC Images

"Okay who else thinks Kanye is starting a cult," a detractor asked, while another said that West "turned his school into his private recording studio acting like we won't notice."

"Is it just me, or is this weird," said another, prompting an oft-repeated defense from other followers that the children were simply chanting their school's name.

Donda Academy's website is sparse and only gives a small amount of information about the curriculum offered to students.

"Each day, Donda students learn fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes," a note under the "How We Learn" section reads.

According to the daily schedule, children will begin the day with "full school worship," followed by "core classes of language arts, math and science."

There is a break for "lunch & recess" with "enrichment courses including World Language, Visual Art, Film, Choir and Parkour," later on.

Few other details are known about the school, which reportedly requires that parents of prospective students sign nondisclosure agreements. Tamar Andrews, a consultant for Donda Academy, told Rolling Stone in September that parents had been asked to sign an "informal agreement."

According to Andrews, there are just under 100 students enrolled at the $15,000-per-year school, which employs 16 full-time teachers. Andrews also said that the school was not yet accredited, though it has applied with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

West's children with ex-wife Kim Kardashian attend Sierra Canyon School, located in Chatsworth, California, but in text messages shared on West's Instagram account that he purportedly sent to her, the musician wrote that he wants their children to attend Donda Academy.

The school's listed principal and executive director, Brianne Campbell—who also heads up Donda Academy's choir program—is 28 years old, has never held a formal position as an educator and is enrolled in a master's degree program in education at California's Pepperdine University.

Producer and West collaborator Malik Yusef, who told Rolling Stone he helped shape the school's concept, said that the rapper and fashion designer was serious about Donda Academy.

West's five-year plan, according to Yusef, is to open several campuses across the U.S., copying Donda Academy's tuition of students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

"I want to be emphatic that there's never been a time that Kanye West did not want to do this," Yusef said. "I think people don't understand the gravity of that.

"This man always wanted to create a school in his mama's name... Look at what we're doing with the choir and the fashion in school—I don't think there's a venture capitalist or anybody that's had a vision this clear on what education can look like for you."

Yusef and Andrews also spoke of the programs the school offers, including fashion courses, Japanese-language classes, lessons on restorative justice instruction, and STEM classes.

"With Donda Academy, the curriculum has been built his whole life," said Yusef. "Education is kind of a group effort. It takes a village to raise the child, these conceptualizations.

"At length, we spoke about how we want to have people educated and how the education system fails the majority of people, not just some people."

Newsweek has reached out to representatives of West and Donda Academy for comment.