Services set for Dr. Donda West, educator, author, businesswoman and mother of Super Star Kanye West

Services set for Kanye West's mother

Published on: 11/17/07

The funeral for the mother of rapper Kanye West will be held Tuesday in Oklahoma City, according to a report on

The website said it was told by a spokesman for the Howard-Harris Funeral Home in Oklahoma City that the service for Donda West, who went to high school in Oklahoma City, would be held at the funeral home. The report said Donda West's parents and brother live in Oklahoma City.

West, 58, died a week ago at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., after she stopped breathing. She had undergone cosmetic surgery in Los Angeles and had gone home.

An autopsy was conducted, but an official cause of death won't be made for at least 1 1/2 months, pending further tests, the coroner's office has said.

From the National Hall of Records

Donda West, mother of Kanye West and former chairwoman of Chicago State University's English department, has died. She was 58.

The mother of hip-hop mogul Kanye West died following a "cosmetic procedure" in Los Angeles this weekend, her publicist told CNN Monday. Donda West was known for the strong bond she shared with her son, by whose side she was often seen at parties and award shows.

Kanye West, 30, often spoke of his close relationship with his mother, who raised him as a single mother since Kanye was 3. She was the inspiration for the song, ''Hey Mama,'' on Kanye West's 2005 album ''Late Registration,'' in which he sings: ''Hey Mama, I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I'm so proud of you ... I appreciate what you allowed for me. I just want you to be proud of me.''

Donda West frequently defended her son against critics who accused him of penning misogynistic lyrics and other purported transgressions. ''I support my baby,'' she said in a Chicago Sun-Times interview. ''He is telling how he feels and he is speaking the truth as he sees it.''

In May, she published the book ''Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star,'' in which she paid homage to her famous son.

Donda West served as chief executive of West Brands LLC, the parent company of her son's business enterprises, and as chairwoman of the Kanye West Foundation, an educational nonprofit that works to decrease dropout rates and improve literacy.

Kanye West told the Associated Press in August that he and his mother worked together to devise the foundation's first program, ''Loop Dreams,'' which helps public school students get involved in music. ''Me and my mother were discussing ways to give back and came up with the concept,'' he said.

Donda West worked in higher education for 31 years, before leaving academia in 2004 to help manage her son's career, according to a biography on the Kanye West Foundation's Web site. She began working at Chicago State University in 1980 and eventually chaired the school's English department, according to the site. She started her teaching career in the early 1970s as an instructor at Brown College in Atlanta.

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Rest in Peace
Dr. Donda West

Dr. Donda West was initiated into Alpha Eta Chapter at Virginia Union University.

Alpha Eta Chapter website