Ye opens up about fatherhood, the Donda Academy, and his broken business deals

Ye sat down with ABC News' Linsey Davis to reflect on what it’s like to co-parent with Kim Kardashian, the fallout from his collaborations with Gap and Adidas, and his dreams for Yeezy.
10:57 | 09/23/22

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Transcript for Ye opens up about fatherhood, the Donda Academy, and his broken business deals
CRITICISMS OF TWO FASHION GIANTS. >> THERE'S SO MANY EXAMPLES THROUGHOUT HISTORY WHERE PEOPLE WERE MISUNDERSTOOD IN THEIR TIME. I NEED TO BE ABLE TO ACTUALIZE THESE THINGS THAT ARE 20 YEARS AHEAD AND BRING THEM TO PEOPLE IN REAL LIFE. THE WORLD NEEDS TO ENJOY WHAT'S IN MY IMAGINATION. >> DO YOU FEEL LIKE MOST PEOPLE DON'T GET IT? LIKE, YOU'RE TRYING TO ALWAYS OVEREXPLAIN WHAT'S OBVIOUS TO YOU AND MOST PEOPLE JUST DON'T FEEL OR UNDERSTAND? >> YES. >> Reporter: FOR DECADES, YE, FORMERLY KNOWN AS KANYE WEST, HAS ENGINEERED HIS IMAGINATION INTO AN EMPIRE. ONE THAT INCLUDES 24 GRAMMYS. MORE THAN 80 PLATINUM SINGLES. ♪ MAKE ME STRONGER ♪ AND A FASHION BUSINESS VALUED IN THE BILLIONS. BUT FOR ALL HIS ACCOLADES AND ACHIEVEMENTS, YE HAS RECENTLY GRABBED HEADLINES FOR HIS SOCIAL MEDIA OUTBURSTS. HIS LATEST TARGETS, GAP AND ADIDAS. YE AND HIS APPAREL COMPANY YZY RECENTLY REFUSED TO COLLABORATE FURTHER WITH THE GAP AND THREATENING TO DO THE SAME WITH ADIDAS, JEOPARDIZING DEALS THAT COULD BE WORTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A 10-YEAR DEAL. WHY DID YOU WANT TO TERMINATE IT? >> YOU KNOW, IT'S THOSE NUANCES WHERE PEOPLE ACT LIKE THEY YOUR DADDY OR SOMETHING. THEY WILL BE LIKE, SHUT UP BECAUSE I SAID SO. >> Reporter: YZY, FAMOUS FOR AVANT-GARDE SNEAKER AND APPAREL DESIGNS, RECENTLY STRUCK MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENTS WITH ADIDAS AND GAP TO BRAND AND SELL MERCHANDISE. THOSE RELATIONSHIPS SOURED. YOU DID USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO SHOW ALL THE RESTRICTIONS ADIDAS AND GAP HAVE PUT ON YOU. HOW DO YOU MOVE FORWARD NOW IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY WHEN THEY'RE SAYING, YOU CAN'T EVEN NOT ONLY SHOW YZY PRODUCTS, BUT ANYTHING BEARING THAT LIKENESS? >> OH, WE GOT SOME NEW LAWYERS. PULL UP! WE'VE REALLY HAD TO LEVEL UP AND SHOW THEM -- REALLY SHOW THEM, YOU KNOW, WHO'S THE NEW BOSS IN TOWN. THAT I'M THE BOSS OF ME. I'M NOT JUST A MASCOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME, YOU KNOW, GETTING THE CROWD HYPED UP, SAYING HEY, WEAR THIS, DO THIS! >> SOCIAL MEDIA YOU FEEL, IS THAT MORE HURTFUL OR BENEFICIAL TO YOU? >> THAT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUESTIONS OF THIS INTERVIEW. WE CAN USE A CAR TO RUSH SOMEBODY TO THE HOSPITAL, OR WE CAN USE A CAR AND ACCIDENTALLY HIT SOMEBODY WHILE WE'RE RUSHING SOMEBODY TO THE HOSPITAL. SO IT'S ALL IN HOW WE USE IT. >> Reporter: HIS PROBLEMS AREN'T LIMITED TO BUSINESS. THE FATHER OF FOUR STILL GOING THROUGH A BITTER DIVORCE. AND A DRAWN-OUT CUSTODY BATTLE WITH REALITY STAR KIM KARDASHIAN, WHO HE MARRIED IN 2014. >> THIS IS THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN. AND I APOLOGIZE FOR ANY STRESS THAT I HAVE CAUSED, EVEN IN MY FRUSTRATION, BECAUSE GOD CALLS ME TO BE STRONGER. BUT ALSO AIN'T NOBODY ELSE GOING TO BE CAUSING NO STRESS EITHER. I NEED THIS PERSON TO BE LEAST STRESSED AND THE BEST SOUND, MIND, AND AS CALM AS POSSIBLE, TO BE ABLE TO RAISE THOSE CHILDREN. >> Reporter: THE FORMER COUPLE IS NOW TRYING TO COPARENT THEIR CHILDREN. SON SOLVE, 3, AND SAINT, 6, DAUGHTER CHICAGO, 4, AND NORTH, 9. >> DO YOU COACH NORTH'S BASKETBALL TEAM? >> YEAH. THIS WAS SO MOVING AND SO IMPORTANT TO ME. A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO, I GOT TO SEE MY DAUGHTER'S IMPROVEMENT IN BASKETBALL. THE FIRST SEASON, JUST KIND OF NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO. YOU KNOW, AS FAR AS COPARENTING GOES, I PUT MY FOOT DOWN WITH KIM AND I SAID, I LEARNED HOW TO PLAY BASKETBALL IN A SUMMER AND CAME BACK AND WON CHAMPIONSHIPS. SO I AS HER DAD AM GOING TO GO AND I'M GOING TO COACH HER EVERY MORNING. SHE TRAINED EVERY DAY, AND I REALLY STAYED ON HER. WHEN SHE CAME BACK, SHE HAD THE CONFIDENCE. >> I'M CURIOUS WHAT YOUR INFLUENCE IS WITH YOUR CHILDREN. IF YOU MAKE SURE THEY HAVE ONE LESSON THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO INSTILL, WHAT MIGHT THAT BE? >> FOLLOW GOD. AND ALL THE VISIONS AND ALL THE DREAMS AND THE IDEAS THAT HE'S GIVEN ME AND MY CHILDREN AND KIM AS VISIONARIES, RIGHT? BECAUSE WE'VE INVENTED SO MANY THINGS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO WHERE SOCIETY IS TODAY. ALL OF THOSE THINGS, THE MORE WE LEAN IN AND THE MORE WE FOLLOW GOD AND THE MORE OBEDIENT WE ARE, THE MORE HE'S GOING TO BLESS US AND BRING IT TO THE TABLE. >> DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A VOICE AS YOU'RE COPARENTING NOW? >> I DO HAVE A VOICE, BUT I HAD TO FIGHT FOR IT. THAT HURTS YOU, WHEN YOU HAVE TO SCREAM ABOUT WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE WEARING, WHAT THEY'RE WATCHING, WHAT THEY'RE EATING. IT'S LITTLE NUANCES WHERE THERE WAS A PARALLEL TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT GAP, WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT ADIDAS, AND WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN MY HOME. IT WAS ALL KIND OF A DISREGARD FOR THE VOICE OF SOMETHING THAT I COCREATED. I COCREATED THE CHILDREN. I COCREATED THE PRODUCT AT ADIDAS. I COCREATED THE PRODUCT AT GAP. THERE'S A PARALLEL, AND THE PARALLEL DOES TOUCH ON DISCRIMINATION. >> EVEN WITHIN YOUR MARRIAGE? >> YEAH. I WANT MY KIDS TO GO TO DONDA, AND I HAVE TO FIGHT FOR A SAY-SO. >> Reporter: DONDA ACADEMY IS A PRIVATE SCHOOL NEAR LOS ANGELES THAT HE CREATED AND NAMED AFTER HIS BELOVED LATE MOTHER, DONDA WEST. >> BOTH MY PARENTS ARE EDUCATORS. MY MOTHER WAS THE FIRST BLACK FEMALE CHAIR OF THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT OF CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY. SHE WAS A FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR. >> Reporter: MY COLLEAGUE TERRY MORAN INTERVIEWED HER FOR "NIGHTLINE" MONTHS BEFORE HER SUDDEN DEATH IN 2007. >> THEN YOU WERE A SINGLE MOM? >> YES. >> HOW WAS THAT? >> A SINGLE MOM. >> HOW DID YOU DO THAT? >> WELL -- IT WAS A LOT OF FUN. IT WAS A CHALLENGE. BUT WHEN YOU HAVE CHALLENGES, THAT'S WHAT MAKES LIFE WORTH LIVING, RIGHT? KANYE WAS A GREAT KID. >> HE WAS A GOOD BOY? >> OH, HE WAS A VERY GOOD BOY. >> THAT SURPRISES US TODAY. >> YEAH. HE WAS A VERY GOOD BOY. NOW THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT HE DIDN'T GET INTO HIS SHARE OF TROUBLE. AND HE WOULD ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOU. YOU NEEDED TO BE ON YOUR TOES. >> Reporter: YE IS HOPING TO PASS THE LESSONS HE LEARNED FROM HIS MOTHER TO THE STUDENTS AT DONDA ACADEMY. HOW MANY STUDENTS DO YOU HAVE ENROLLED? >> WE'RE IN OUR THIRD YEAR. WE HAVE 82 STUDENTS. >> GIVE ME A SENSE OF WHY YOU DECIDED YOU WANTED TO CREATE A SCHOOL AND WHAT THE MISSION IS. >> YOU KNOW, TO BE A PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL, A DESIGN SCHOOL, ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL, FARMING SCHOOL, AUTOMOTIVE, ENGINEERING SCHOOL, COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE SCHOOL, FINANCIAL ENGINEERING. NOT JUST FINANCIAL LITERACY. AND ALSO TO TEACH THE GOSPEL. AND THAT IS -- THAT IS DONDA. >> Reporter: HE SAYS HE LEANS HEAVILY INTO HIS FAITH FOR ALL ASPECTS OF HIS LIFE. PEOPLE ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW, I THINK, ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. YOU'VE TALKED BEFORE ABOUT HOW YOU WERE DIAGNOSED AS BIPOLAR. >> YOU KNOW WHAT? I THINK THAT THIS IDEA, THIS CONCEPT OF MENTAL HEALTH BEING THIS BIG SUBJECT IS STRAIGHT-UP MEDIA PROPAGANDA TO DIMINISH PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT COLORING INSIDE THE LINES. WE JUST ACCEPT THIS KIND OF IDEA OF PEOPLE SAYING, LIKE, HEY, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. AND IT'S ALMOST LIKE IF A WHITE PERSON SAID TO A BLACK PERSON, HEY, WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR BLACKNESS. AND ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THE WHOLE MENTAL HEALTH CONVERSATION IS, EVEN A CRAZY PERSON CAN CALL YOU CRAZY. >> Reporter: HIS NEXT TASK AT HAND, REBRANDING YZY, THE FASHION LINE KNOWN FOR HIGH-END ITEMS LIKE $300 TANK TOPS. IS THAT GOING TO BE AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE? I KNOW SOME OF YOUR SNEAKERS ARE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. >> I MEAN, IF IT'S UP TO ME-ZY, YZY WOULD BE FREE-ZY. >> PEOPLE WALKING IN OFF THE STREET, CAN THEY BUY SOMETHING FOR 30 BUCKS? >> 20. >> $20 WILL GET ME A T-SHIRT? >> GET YOU FOUR T-SHIRTS. >> IT'S GOING TO BE VERY ACCESSIBLE? >> VERY ACCESSIBLE. >> VERY AFFORDABLE? >> VERY AFFORDABLE. IT'S A START. WE HAVEN'T GOT QUITE TO FREE YET. GOT TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON. GOT TO KEEP ALL THESE UNNECESSARY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAYLIGHTS ON. >> Reporter: HE ALSO WANTS TO SELL DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS, AN IDEA THAT HE RIDICULED BACK IN 2013 DURING AN INTERVIEW WITH SIRIUS XM COAST SUEDE CALLAWAY. >> WHY DON'T YOU EMPOWER YOURSELF AND DON'T NEED THEM AND DO IT YOURSELF? >> HA. >> TAKE A FEW STEPS BACK TO GO -- >> YOU AIN'T GOT THE ANSWERS, MAN! >> SO SWAY ALMOST TEN YEARS AGO SAID, MAN, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT ON YOUR OWN? WAS HE RIGHT? >> YOU KNOW WHAT? I WILL GO AHEAD AND SAY, SWAY HAD THE ANSWER. I KNOW PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE LIKE, NO! SWAY, YOU DID HAVE THE ANSWER. >> Reporter: TODAY THE ARTIST LEANS ON OTHER FAMOUS NAMES FOR BUSINESS ADVICE. >> I REMEMBER ELON MUSK. DID I DROP THAT NAME SLOW ENOUGH AND HEAVY ENOUGH? NAME DROP! I SAID, ELON, I WANT TO -- I JUST WANT TO DO DEALS LIKE YOU, BIG BRO. AND HE SAID, I DON'T DO DEALS, I BUY THINGS. >> Reporter: HIS AMBITIONS GO FAR BEYOND THE BOARDROOM. >> I'M ACTUALLY CURIOUS, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY, YOU DID RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020. DO YOU HAVE FUTURE POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS? >> YES. ABSOLUTELY. ASPIRATIONS -- YOU KNOW, IT'S -- THAT TIME WASN'T IN GOD'S TIME. I'M SURE GOD HAD ME FALL ON THE SWORD AND SAY, THIS IS NOT THE TIME. >> Reporter: BUT YE SAYS HE ISN'T FINISHED YET. >> PEOPLE WRITE OFF THE FACT THAT I'M GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD. THEY JUST THINK IT'S CRAZY. >> HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD? >> MORE? HOW WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD MORE? >> MORE. >> WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD THROUGH INFORMATION. THROUGH KNOWLEDGE. THROUGH LOVE. THROUGH RESPECT. THROUGH UNDERSTANDING. >> RIGHT NOW YE IS -- CAN YOU FINISH THAT SENTENCE? >> TIRED OF DOING THE INTERVIEW. >> ALL RIGHT, THEN LET'S FINISH. THAT'S IT, THAT'S IT.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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