In response to Kanye West’s Donda,

Kanye West played his highly anticipated new album, Donda, for the second time last night in Atlanta. The scene in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has become Kanye’s new home, as well as every moment of preparation, was livestreamed on Apple Music. The night began with a choir that sounded like it was from a Sunday service, with Kanye singing, “It’s the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”

Kanye is the type of artist who doesn’t distinguish between his personal identity and his work, so there was a thread of Kanye in every little detail — the constant wardrobe changes, the street-cast performers’ hype one moment, weeping, barefoot, crawling to what appeared to be a church altar the next. For the majority of the concert, Kanye stood alone in the center, surrounded by a circle. Wearing choir robes, Donda vests with full-face masks, and jackets imprinted on the back with a cross in the center of the Star of David, those involved were wrapped from head to toe in looks signifying their mother’s protection and “covering.” Throughout the night, songs echoed Donda West’s name to invoke a type of persistence that she instilled in Kanye, one that will live on in him forever.

Every scene and lyric spoke of the act of rising and ascending. Donda West, who died tragically in 2007, has always been a source of inspiration and a guiding light for him, as evidenced by the theatrical performance at the show’s conclusion, in which he was lifted into the air, lying down on trapeze wires, almost as if ascending into heaven with spotlights around him.

Kanye stated earlier this week that Demna Gvasalia, his close friend and Balenciaga artistic director, would be a part of the project, and he wore a head-to-toe black ensemble that included a spiked jacket from Balenciaga’s fall/winter 2020 collection. And it appears that West is on his way to becoming “the next Steve Jobs” of fashion and culture, thanks to his prolonged cooperation with Gap and drive to make necessities feel more intentional.

Are you on your way?


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