Donda West Talks Kids, Kanye & Society Days Before Death

Just days before she passed away, Kanye West’s mother, Donda, gave what may have been her final interview, in which she talked about her outspoken son, his music and her proudest moments – and, her biggest regrets as a mother.

Less than 48 hours before her untimely death, due to possible complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure, Donda West sat down with Providence’s 95.5 WBRU radio DJ Souleo for a revealing chat, which no one would have suspected at the time may have been Donda’s last public interview.

“During the interview, Dr. Donda West was very candid and highly introspective about her life as a mother to Kanye, views on the world, and future goals,” Souleo told Access Hollywood.

Dr. West, who died on November 10, due to possible complications stemming from a surgical procedure, spoke with Souleo about raising her son, and the challenges mothers face in today’s society.

“What are some of the modern challenges you see to raising a family that might be different or similar than when you were raising Kanye?” Souleo asked her.

“I think that the distractions are somewhat the same, but just more of them,” Dr. West explained. “We have so much television and the kinds of shows that are on television. You have ways that kids can get on the Internet and be exposed to things that they shouldn’t be exposed to as children. And you have radio which appears to be more concerned with making the almighty dollar than putting out music that is mindful and thoughtful and would have people think critically about things.”

Dr. West also pointed to the troubling growing trend of teen pregnancy.

“It seems to be almost a fad now for young people themselves to be pregnant,” she added. “It’s not uncommon for a young girl who’s 14, 15, 16 years old to have a baby and I just don’t know that she’s had enough time to mature herself to really have the kinds of parenting skills that are needed. That’s not to say there are no teenagers who are doing a good job raising their kids. But by and large, having a baby is an adult activity.”

The author of the book “Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar,” Dr. West knows a thing or two about bringing up a child, having raised Kanye solo since his father left when Kanye was only three.

And while social distractions may prove to be a significant obstacle to kids, the pressure to help them over the hurdles lies squarely on the shoulders of the parents, according to Dr. West.

“When you look at all of the obstacles there are in raising kids, you can see why it’s really important to try and keep them on the straight and narrow,” she continued. “But at the same time be flexible enough so that they could grow and be creative and come into their own.”

Souleo, who in addition to working for WBRU also writes for several outlets, including Sister 2 Sister magazine, and works as a music editor of aRude Magazine, said it was a privilege to have gotten the chance to speak with Dr. West before her tragic passing.

“It was an honor to have spoken with her and I send my condolences to the entire West family and all those affected by her death,” Souleo concluded.

For more of Souleo’s interview with Dr. Donda West, check out the January 2008 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine.

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