Los Angeles (AFP) – The director of Netflix’s new documentary Kanye West was disappointed – but not surprised – by the controversial rapper’s last-minute request to recut a film that had been in the works for decades, he told AFP.
Clarence “Coodie” Simmons began following his friend West with a camera in 2001, curious to see how far the ambitious young Chicago music producer could go, and eventually amassed 320 hours of behind-the-scenes footage of his journey to international fame.
The first part of the seven-hour “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” will be released by Netflix on Wednesday, but famed perfectionist West took to Instagram last month to demand “final editing and approval” of the project, in order to “be responsible for my own image.”
“I told Kanye he had to have 100% confidence in this movie…he said he was confident,” Simmons said.
“So when I saw this Instagram, I was a little disappointed.”
As recently as last week, West – now known as Ye – continued to issue demands, such as asking fellow rap superstar Drake to take over narration.
Ironically, Simmons had gone to great lengths to ensure West was happy, scrapping plans to first air the footage in 2005 because West “said he wasn’t ready for the world to see the real him. “.
The couple later separated, and Simmons had little access to West for the next decade.
But in an apparent reconciliation, West showed up to a Hollywood screening of the documentary on Friday, hugging Simmons and telling the audience that “people try to cancel us out and we all run away from each other and we scatter or we don’t talk to each other, don’t communicate.”
‘Drop the camera’
The documentary tackles West’s mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, which led to him being hospitalized in 2016 and was again in the spotlight during his bizarre run for the US presidency in 2020.
Filming a meeting two years ago in which West told real estate investors he had taken bipolar medication to “have a normal conversation and turn a stranger into English,” Simmons felt sufficiently concerned about the behavior of his friend and subject to turn off the camera. .
“It was the first time I captured Kanye from this angle,” said Simmons, a former comedian and TV host.
“I just felt like I had to put the camera down so I could listen to him and be there for him as a brother and not as a director, which is why I put it down.
“It happened a few other times where I was like, ‘Okay, let me be careful.'”
At Friday’s screening, West said he made “what you might think are mistakes in public” to show the world that black limits are “just a smokescreen.”
“We, on labels we don’t own, play for basketball teams we don’t own. The time has come,” he said.
The controversy surrounding West’s demands for creative control over “jeen-yuhs” has undoubtedly brought more publicity to the documentary.
But Simmons and co-director Chike Ozah hope showing West’s most vulnerable and sometimes embarrassing moments during his rise to greatness will help the world reassess a figure known for his frequent arrogant and self-centered outbursts.
For example, Ozah highlights an early scene from the Denny’s restaurant chain, where West celebrates the removal of wires from his jawbone following a serious car accident.
“He only takes liquid food, so he’s lost considerable amounts of weight, he’s got a little six-pack,” Ozah recalled.
“It’s a moment you share with Kanye, where he even takes Coodie’s camera and starts filming Coodie, and he seems so carefree and so happy.
“It’s a moment you cherish, to see him in this space.”
So, after all these years, is West now ready for the world to see the real him?
“It’s not really about him being ready…I hope he sees this movie,” Simmons said.
“The world needs to see this,” he added. “It’s not about me and Kanye.”
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