Chicago, Dondas House, Entertainment, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, News, RhymeFest -

EXCLUSIVE: Donda’s House co-founder shares plans for new organization after feeling ‘angry, frustrated, and saddened’ by Kim Kardashian’s tweets

Chicago, Dondas House, Entertainment, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, News, RhymeFest -

EXCLUSIVE: Donda’s House co-founder shares plans for new organization after feeling ‘angry, frustrated, and saddened’ by Kim Kardashian’s tweets

I will never forget the feeling I had, after I saw the tweets that Kim Kardashian-West sent out about my husband, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, and about our organization.
Simultaneously I felt anger, frustration and deep sadness, but those feelings quickly transformed into action… at that moment, more than any time in my life – I knew that I needed my community. I also understood that the youth that I mentor were tuned in and that young people do what you do, not what you tell them to do.

I have learned so much about myself, my husband and leadership these last two weeks. I believe the experiences we have sharpen, shape and prepare us for the future. I also believe being a public figure or anyone with any form of influence amplifies those experiences. It is one thing to have a conflict with someone contained within a small circle. It is another thing to have that same conflict in an arena with millions of people watching.

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I have witnessed the power of community. I see community as concentric circles of individuals with shared interest and values. From my community of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. sorority sisters, and the larger Black Greek Lettered-Organization Community Members, to my former students from the Chicago Public School system, to my blood relatives and best friends.

Even people who I don’t know personally, but who are familiar with our work – my community spoke loudly and clearly about our record and about the impact they have witnessed our work have in Chicago. It has been incredibly affirming and has renewed my energy to continue to advocate and fight for equity, resources and agency.

True Leadership

I have learned that leadership is not about having all of the answers. True leadership is about getting out of the way of those who have a certain expertise or idea to move the collective forward. It is about grabbing the microphone and passing it to others to amplify their voice and to share the platform. I have learned that those we love most – we must also hold accountable.

Accountability is not as easy to uphold! It makes people uncomfortable and defensive. However, when we hold ourselves and each other accountable, we become better at our work and better human beings. When you look at the condition that many of our communities are in – we don’t always have the space or time for excuses, inaction or indifference.

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Beyond the Name

Although I mourn the loss of the name Donda’s House Inc., the spirit of Dr. Donda West will live forever in our hearts and her ancestral energy will live at the core of Art of Culture, Inc. As African American people, we have to be adept at being flexible, and as we identify a goal post – we have to be comfortable with the multiple pathways to reach our goals.

From the day that we started as Donda’s House Inc., my goal has always been to make our organization unnecessary! Access to the arts should not be a luxury, and talented artists should not have to dream from a distance about being able to create and share their work.

As long as income is a barrier for young creatives we are committed to providing arts education, mentorship and professional development to help artists close the gap between their reality and their dreams. We’re not married to the name, we’re married to the mission. For more information about our work please visit ArtofCulture.org.

________________________________________________________________________Mrs. Donnie Nicole Smith is the Executive Director of Art of Culture, Inc. a nonprofit organization she co-founded with her husband, Che “Rhymefest” Smith. Art of Culture formerly called Donda’s House Inc. provides free access to the arts for youth in Chicago.  Donnnie’s personal mission is to help others “close the gap between their dreams and their reality.” Donnie blogs regularly at DonnieNicoleSmith.com.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Donda’s House co-founder shares plans for new organization after feeling ‘angry, frustrated, and saddened’ by Kim Kardashian’s tweets appeared first on theGrio.


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