Last September, Kanye West began speaking at a community college in Los Angeles as part of his conviction for battery of a photographer. Now, the school has announced that the rapper’s presence has attracted many more male students to the fashion design course.
Having pleaded ‘no contest’ to the charge, West was handed a sentence of 24 months informal probation, 24 anger management sessions and 250 hours of community service. The initial incident took place on July 19, 2013 at LAX airport when West tried to seize a photographer’s camera in a scuffle which saw the paparazzo fall to the ground.
As part of his community service, West has been teaching fashion design sporadically at Los Angeles Trade-Tech community college. As TMZ report, intake of male students have increased by 40%, with West “having he’s gone above and beyond to assign projects, and offer students personal mentoring”.
West will finish his teaching stint at the college during June.
A student who attended one of West’s classes recently spoke to Noisey about the experience. Andre Pitts III said: “We were instructed to put our bags on the floor and turn off our cell phones. The campus sheriffs were present inside and around the building too. We were able to use our phone for a brief amount of time during his speech then when it was Q&A time he told us to turn them off… It went on for about an hour and a half and Kanye discussed a lot of things but mainly about his inspirations. He mentioned Ice Cube being one of his biggest inspirations, but also one of his biggest let downs. He also discussed Steve Jobs, 2Pac and his grandfather.”
Pitts continued: “I’ve listened to Kanye since I was younger but I can’t rate him as a teacher because he didn’t come to teach a fashion class, he just spoke about his inspirations. He didn’t try to be a teacher, he simply spoke about how life really is.”
Meanwhile, Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis has written a blog post in response to an online petition launched to prevent West from headlining this year’s event.
Writing for The Guardian, Eavis said that she and her father Michael wouldn’t normally comment on such a campaign “but given the enormous amount of media coverage from all corners of the globe we felt compelled to respond this time.”
She continues: “We think the story this year should not be: “Why is Kanye coming?” but: “How amazing is it that Kanye is coming?” One of the world’s biggest superstars and a music legend, always interesting, never boring. He has agreed to play a festival where headliners get paid a fraction of their normal rate in support of Oxfam, Water Aid and Greenpeace as well as thousands of other worthy causes. We think that’s pretty great.”
Wavis went on to question the people signing the petition, which has so far bought in over 50,000 virtual signatures. “I have such faith in humanity, but believe me, some of the vitriol being thrown around this week has made me question the dark underbelly of the web,” she wrote. “Who are those people silently shouting in disgust, throwing out threats from behind their screens? It certainly isn’t pleasant to be on the receiving end of that. I can’t even imagine how it makes Kanye feel”.
Eavis explained that only four more requests for ticket refunds were made than the previous week following the announcement earlier this week that West would headline the event in June. “The overwhelming majority of our 135,000 ticket-holders are clearly not too concerned by that particular two-hour slot on one of the 100 stages at our five-day event,” wrote Eavis.
The Change.org petition was set up after the announcement that West will headline the Saturday night of this year’s festival. The original petition read: “Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world. We spend hundreds of pounds to attend glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment. Kanye has been very outspoken on his views on music….he should listen to his own advice and pass his headline slot on to someone deserving! Lets prevent this musical injustice now!”
Speaking exclusively to NME, the man behind the petition Neil Lonsdale, said: “Glastonbury needs upbeat major artists. Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names. The biggest performers. Kanye does not represent that.”
He added: “I fought the temptation to scream and instead opted to hurl my iPhone across the room. Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West? It’s an outrage!” Lonsdale also revealed that he’s never been to Glastonbury before.
Meanwhile, there’s also a counter petition set up called ‘Cancel all acts at Glastonbury other than Kanye West’. Earlier this week, Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis offered his support to West by holding up a banner that read ‘Yeezy Does It’.