Kanye West asks the public this week for final approval on jeen-yuhs, a three-part documentary about his career, isn’t the first time he’s tried to have a say in the documentary’s story.
Filmmaker Coodie Simmons recalls conversation with rapper about jeen-yuhs when it was in the previous stage. Simmons, who co-directed the documentary with Chike Ozah, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I have to control the narrative that God created – we didn’t create this. And he said he trusted me to do the job well. “
Jen-yuhs (pronounced “genius”) was described as the “Kanye trilogy” and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, before premiering on Netflix on February 16. The films ranked in popularity. in the music of West, from young producer and wannabe rapper to Grammy Award Winner and global superstar. The trilogy also includes the 2007 death of West’s beloved mother, Donda, the rapper’s mental health struggles, and his failed presidential run in 2020.
CHEAP spoke to Simmons and Ozah the day before West approached Instagram, asking for more control over the films, writing, “I must get final editing and approval on this document. before it’s released on Netflix[.] Open an editing room right away so I can take charge of my own images.” (CHEAP Have reached out to Netflix for comment but have yet to receive a response.)
To Simmons’ knowledge, West has yet to see the document, but says that “his team” has. “I went to see him once on his birthday, but he had to go to France,” he added.
Having first met West in the late ’90s, Simmons, a filmmaker who specializes in comedies, began following him seriously on camera in the early 2000s. Inspired by Hoop Dreams — the 1994 documentary about Chicago high school students hoping to become professional basketball players — he had long planned to turn West’s orbit into a documentary. In addition to the documentary that will be a documentary, Simmons and Ozah worked with West early on, directing music videos for the records. Through the wire and Jesus walking.
When West won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album for his multi-platinum debut album College dropout, Simmons saw it as the perfect stop for his documentary, with the then up-and-coming rapper already reaching the pinnacle of critical and commercial success. “It seemed, at that point, that it might have been over,” he recalls, but “Kanye wasn’t ready and of course, if we had solved the problem then, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. on one’s own.”
Not long after winning the Grammy, Simmons took a break from filming West, which lasted for more than a decade. While the directors tackled the rapper’s more headline-grabbing moments during this period – like West interrupting Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech in 2009, his marriage to Kim Kardashian and His endorsement of the Donald Trump presidency – they focused on moments where Simmons and his camera were present.
Simmons and West reconnected after the musician’s public breakdown during his 2016 “Saint Pablo” tour, which included a performance in Sacramento, Calif., where the rapper criticized everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Beyoncé before leaving the stage. A few days later, the world tour was canceled and the rapper was hospitalized in Los Angeles. (West was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.) When jeen-yuhs shows West and his struggles with mental health, through Simmons’ perspective as a caring friend. “I always thought he was just taking a shortcut. I don’t think it has anything to do with mental health. And in our community, we don’t pay attention to mental health, so we didn’t understand it,” Simmons explained. “To lose his mother, Donda West, in public like he did, you just don’t know what that would do to a person.”
For Simmons and Ozah – whose other documentary credits include A Kid from Coney Island, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and 30 for 30 doc Benji for ESPN – there was never a consideration of skipping these moments from jeen-yuhs. We can’t go around anything that happens in life, says Simmons. Things happen, and we’re filming. We have to confirm what happened.” Simmons’ camera captured a series of moments, including intimate conversations between West and his late mother, the aftermath of the 2002 car crash that left the musician with a broken jaw, and West analyzed news coverage of his first presidential campaign rally, where he cried on stage while speaking about his views on abortion.
All over jeen-yuhs‘three-movie arc, Pharrell, Ludacris, Mos Def, Jay-Z, Jamie Foxx, Talib Kweli and a man of hip-hop legends moving in and out of the frame. There’s even a glimpse of early Beyoncé. Still, more footage had to be cut to push the movie down to their current 90-minute length. A freestyle performance between West and rapper The Game in a parking lot after a party and a scene with late filmmaker John Singleton proved particularly hard to come by.
“For us, the story is not about Kanye. It’s not about Coodie. Ozah who sees jeen-yuhs as a series about overcoming adversity.
In April 2021, it was revealed that the series would be ported to Netflix, with Billboards reports that the streamer got the rights to all three movies in a deal worth around $30 million. By the time the movie hits the streaming service next month, jeen-yuhs will be more than two decades in the making. “We feel like everything happens in God’s time. While we [filming], we kept thinking, ‘This is the ending,’ and then it’s like, ‘No, it’s not,’ ‘Simmons said of the growing story. “Next thing you know, he’s running for president, and I get the camera, and there I am.”
He added, “And of course, the story is still ongoing.”