The uproar began after the multi-hyphenate entertainer sat down for an interview with Danny Harris and Alyson Wilson of the Alo Mind Full yoga podcast. Ye shared that he’s never taken the time to read any literature. “When you said ‘I hadn’t read this book,’ I actually haven’t read any book,” West declared. “Reading is like eating Brussels sprouts for me. And talking is like getting the Giorgio Baldi corn ravioli.” The quote was then reported in an article by HuffPost.
The idea of the rapper comparing reading to eating a vegetable often disliked by children shocked many online who found it disappointing. Literary advocate and veteran actor from Reading Rainbow, Roots, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, LeVar Burton, highlighted his own concern via Twitter, writing:
“I’m going have to take Mr. West at his word. I hope however, that he shares a different message with the children enrolled in the school he founded named after his mother, who was a professor of English. I’m fairly certain she read a book or two.”
The late Dr. Donda C. West was known as an educator, having first been a professor at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia before teaching at Chicago State University. She was also the chair of the Department of English, Communications, Media, and Theater before retiring in 2004 to assist her son as his fame rose.
West has recently been under scrutiny after opening the Donda Academy in Simi Valley, California. The Christian preparatory school is currently undergoing an accreditation process begun by applying to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A Rolling Stone profile revealed that parents who enroll their children in the school are asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, considered “informal agreements” as referred to by Donda consultant Tamar Andrews.
A visit to the school’s website details a curriculum that emphasizes a period of “full school worship” before courses in language arts, math and science. Other courses at the academy include world languages, visual art, film, choir, and parkour.