It would appear that Ye doesn’t understand how these things work.
The only thing Kanye West loves more than Kanye West is controlling how the world sees Kanye West. Using his favorite way to communicate his wishes with the world, West demanded more creative control over the upcoming three-part documentary Jeen-Yuhs being released by Netflix, even though it appears he gave that control up.
In the blunt Instagram caption, West demanded “kindly, for the last time” to be able to have final edit and approval privileges on the Jeen-Yuhs documentary before it’s released. To him, it’s a matter of controlling his image, which he’s already started doing concerning the doc by accompanying his demands with a creepy photo of himself with the name of the doc on his forehead in Netflix’s signature Bebas Neue font in red lettering.
West’s passive-aggressive social media tirade explains why he hadn’t acknowledged the doc’s existence in the past, even with Netflix announcing a February 16 release date 11 days ago. He shared his Instagram post an hour after Variety released its feature article on the making of the doc earlier today. In the piece, we find out Jeen-Yuhs, directed by Clarence "Coodie" Simmons and Chike Ozahwill, contains intimate conversations between West and his late mother Donda West, has appearances from Beyonce, and won’t feature much of Kim Kardashian and her family. But, the most interesting revelation was Simmons stating West didn’t want final edit privileges. According to Simmons, he told West he needed to trust his vision for the doc, a request he says West granted him. The way he describes the documentary could also explain why West now has a change of heart.
“It’s not about making Kanye likable or not,” he explains. “The footage doesn’t lie. What makes the film special is that it’s not something definitive; it’s his journey through my vision.”
A public display of Kanye West not solely focused on putting him in the best light is likely the bane of the existence of a public figure who turned a Larry Hoover benefit concert into a career-spanning, beef-ending monument of West’s boundless influence. And what likely makes it worse for him is the doc it is largely rooted in the past he’s actively been distancing himself from in recent years. He’s called the most successful artist he ever signed his biggest regret, disavowed any allegiance to the conscious rap that endeared him to millions, and became a Donald Trump-exalting Republican after famously calling out former President George W. Bush for mediocre relief efforts for Black communities that suffered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. Even though Simmons doesn’t view Jeen-Yuhs as the definitive Kanye West documentary, it’ll undoubtedly be seen that way by the public. The Last Dance, a ten-part docuseries that aired on ESPN in 2020, was primarily about one year of Michael Jordan’s life, but it’s been seen as the definitive MJ documentary. Jordan famously had final edit privileges on The Last Dance — and the man who proclaimed that his sneakers “jumped over the Jumpman” appears to desire the same.
In all honesty, West not having complete creative control of a piece of art attached to him is for the best. He’s a notorious micromanager whose thirst for full creative control on anything he releases has produced some of the best music we’ve ever heard, but it’s also damaged careers. His former G.O.O.D. Music artist Teyana Taylor openly complained about West’s handling of her K.T.S.E. album from 2018. She expressed disappointment in being blindsided by West’s decision to release the album without singles or music videos preceding, removing a heartfelt verse about her daughter without her knowledge, and putting out the album in the middle of big releases from West himself, Pusha T, and Nas, artists more established than her who would likely get more label support around their promotion. Taylor announced her retirement from music two years after the release of K.T.S.E., citing her feeling “underappreciated” by West’s label’s as a motivation for her closing the musical chapter of her life.
Jeen-Yuhs is set to premiere at the virtual Sundance Film Festival on January 23. But don’t be surprised if West hacks the stream to keep the truth about him from coming out on anyone’s terms but his own.