Kanye West is focused on raising a family of four but who is the man that raised Ye himself? While Ye has spent years celebrating his mother, the late Donda West, his father might be lesser know. That man is Ray West, and he came back into the spotlight on Oct. 6, 2022, when Kanye posted a message about him, and the “White Lives Matter” uproar following Kanye’s fashion show where Ye and models wore outfits bearing that slogan.
“FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 45 YEARS I MADE MY SUPER EDUCATED FORMER BLACK PANTHER FATHER PROUD,” Kanye captioned the Instagram post, showing a conversation between him and his father. In the post, Ray laughs over Kanye’s controversial fashion show. Ye asked his dad, “I thought that was so funny. What did you like about it?” “That a Black Man was declaring the obvious,” his dad responded.
Ye also gave love to his right-wing fans by using “NPC” as an insult (“There’s an NPC trying to pick on me What should I do”). The term, taken from video games (“Nonplayer character”) is the MAGA crowd’s way of insulting liberals, a way to say they’re brainwashed sheep who just follow what they’re programmed to do.
As the world is reintroduced to Kanye’s father, here’s what you need to know about Ray West.
Ray West is a man who has lived many lives. He started off as a photojournalist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and captured many famous faces like Maya Angelou, Ronald Reagan, and civil rights activist Ralph David Abernathy. He also picked up a slew of other careers along the way including being a paparazzo, marriage counselor, and store owner.
He also has been a passionate advocate for social justice for his entire life. He embarked on his activism journey when he joined the Black Panthers in the 60s and 70s. While he put that part of his life to the side when he started his photojournalism career, he returned to it when he founded his own charity. He created the Good Water foundation in the Dominican Republic. Kanye disclosed the extent of his father’s charitable heart during an interview with BBC when he said his father moved into a homeless shelter “not because he was homeless, because he wanted to help the ex-drug addicts, he wanted to get that close.” Ray returned to the US in 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer but has since moved back.
Ray West’s relationship with son Kanye
Ray married Kanye’s mother Donda and they welcomed Kanye into the world on June 8, 1977. The pair got divorced three years later and the family was separated when Donda brought Kanye with her to Chicago. Even though Kanye was primarily raised by his mother and was extremely close to her, he spent summers with his dad in Atlanta and always maintained that his father helped take care of them despite their money woes.
Kanye was devastated when Donda passed away at 58 years old due to a cosmetic surgery that went wrong in 2007. We know that Kanye has dedicated not one but two albums to his mother, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate his father. In fact, Ye referenced his dad’s hard work over the years in his song “Father Stretch My Hands.”
Kanye and his dad weren’t always close, but once his mom passed, they grew closer. Kanye attempted to connect with his dad, especially after he overcame cancer and spent some time in America. Ray even filmed for Kanye’s “Follow God” music video. They bonded while filming and at the end of the music video, Kanye says, “It took me 42 years to realize that my dad was my best friend.”