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Donda West and her son, rapper Kanye West attend a book signing for her book "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar."

Kanye West – now officially “Ye” – has had an enormous influence on my young adult life.

I remember the “secret” concerts held in the spring of my undergraduate years at various colleges across the Triangle area here in North Carolina. My college roommate and I were ecstatic to watch DMX pop out from the truck bed of an 18 wheeler to perform that spring on my campus.

Then the rumor began, that if we headed over to Durham; Kanye West would be performing! Needless to say we pushed off studying for finals and trekked 30 minutes west for our first in person glimpse of true “jeen-yuhs.”

Watching the Jeen-yuhs A Kanye Trilogy on Netflix this week opened my eyes to so many things about who Ye is as a man not just an artist. His fans always recognized that losing his mother impacted him heavily, and his love and adoration for her was always clear. I never realized how much positivity and strength Dr. West poured into her son.

Here’s a look at my journey with Kanye.

  • jeen-yuhs Trailer

  • Starting Our Journey

    We arrived on the campus of one of the more elite colleges in the area, sticking out like sore thumbs. We didn’t care, we were part of the early 2000s backpack rap cult following. For us Kanye bridged a gap between our love of the opulent bravado of artists like Jay-Z and the Godbody/Hotep style of artists like Talib Kweli. He made it ok to not only enjoy but rep both styles unapologetically. Back then we didn’t have a full understanding of where Ye came from, what he was going through in the industry, or the depth of the love his mother Dr. Donda West poured into him.

  • A Mother's Love

    Love it, or hate it Ye’s confidence and brilliance is the direct result of Dr. Donda West. I personally love it, and I think she deserves to be honored as an amazing mother! There is a lot we can learn from her about motherhood, and unconditional love this Women’s History Month.

  • A Giant Sees Nothing

    My favorite quote from Jeen-Yuhs was advice Kanye’s mom Donda gave him in a quiet conversation inside her Chicago home, as his rap career was beginning to take flight: “It’s important to remember that the giant looks in the mirror and sees nothing. You know what I mean?”

  • Kanye and Donda

    48th Annual Grammy Awards - Press Room

    LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Singer Kanye West with his awards for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Album with his mother Donda West pose in the press room at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 8, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)