Hey, PopWatchers, guess who I just saw? The LouisVuitton Don and….wait for it … his Louis Vuitton Mom (
see listen to: “LastCall,” The CollegeDropout). And this wasn’t just any celebrity sighting. No, Donda West (accompanied by her son) was at the Borders bookstore in Manhattan’s PennPlaza Borders to sign copies of her recently published memoir, the aptly titled RaisingKanye.
I haven’t read the book yet, but here’s what I know: this former chairperson of the English department at Chicago State University chronicles herson’s early years and her own experiences as a single mother. I also know that she usespoetry to describe her relationship with her family: How many folks can tell you / That their dad is really hip? / Our kind ofconversation / Might cause some folks to trip.
Alright, so she’s no Kanye West. But it’s still pretty touching.
But where there is sap, there is also dirt (maple syrup, anyone?) and Donda West certainly offers some interestingtidbits of life with Kanye. Like how she made her porn-lovingadolescent son pen a research paper about the affects of pornography onteenage boys.
I got to Borders at 12:30and the scene was pretty low key, not counting a group ofred-lanyard-wearing employees pacing in anticipation of thestore’s specialguests. A few patrons waited behinda barrier holding copies of Mama West’s “kid-tested” tell-all. Theywere joined by an impressively diverse bunch of autograph-seekers — acouple from Australia,a Swiss Kanye fan, a Harlem-based teacher who runs a celebrity-orientednot-for-profit organization.
One beatboxing aficionado (not Blake Lewis!)said he admired Kanye’s production skills and called him “an amazing person.”He said he looked forward to reading the book — “somebody like him, you want toknow what the blueprint is.”
By the time the duo arrived, I found myself trapped in a swarmof hungry photographers. A few customers scrambled topurchase a copy of the book that would grant them access to mother andson. Those who optednot to buy the book were directed to the escalators overlooking thevisiting dignitaries (though I’m not sure that anyone wanted to seeKanye that bad).I could hardly see him myself due to said swarm of hungry photographers(and the fact that I’m 5-foot-2). I managed to snap a few blurryshots of the self-proclaimed hip-hop legend and his mom before I wasinstructed toback up. Of the patrons that managed to score autographs (see myamateur photo), only a few had an in-depth convo — though one womansaid she got a smile (and an affirmative) from the rapper when sheasked if he was okay.
You can’t tellhim nothing and, apparently, you can’t askhim anything either. At least, that’s what I was told by a large manwho pretty much embodied the words “Security Detail.” It was stillpretty coolthough, to see theadorably egotistical rapper and the woman who inspired the lyrics to his 2005 song ”Hey Mama:” Can’tyou see, you’re like a book of poetry / Maya Angelou, Nicky Giovanni,turn one page and there’s my mommy / Come on mommy just dance with me,let the whole world see your dancing feet.
So, what say you PopWatchers? Is this something you’d want to read? How do you feel about celebrity tell-alls?
One last note: Even after seeing their affectionate rapport, I’min no hurry to devour the text — I’ll put my copy on the shelf, next tothat ego-gone-wild issue of Rolling Stone. But here’s something we can do: turn the book’s title a new Kanye-ism (as in, “I didn’t win, so I raised Kanye”). Let’s all use it in a sentence this week.