Kanye West’s “Donda” has been making headlines for weeks. From West’s (maybe?) fake wedding to ex-wife Kim Kardashian to charging $40 for hot dogs and $100 for t shirts donning the logo, the absurdity of “Donda” is all anyone could talk about. But now, West is not only being accused of overcharging for snacks and t-shirts, but of ripping off the “Donda” logo from up and coming Black designers, The Daily Beast reports.
The “Donda” merchandise in question are long sleeved, beige t-shirts, sporting an elongated Star of David with a cross in the middle. “DONDA” appears beneath the religious symbol, as well as the date of the listening party and “Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta.” Randy Dawkins, the creative director behind fashion brand Infinity G8ds, knew the design looked familiar — it was theirs.
Indeed, the Donda shirts do bare a shocking resemblance to those by Infinity G8ds, which had been widely published online and on social media since March. Like the “Donda” shirts, Infinity G8ds’ designs are stamped with a Star of David, inside of which is a smaller cross. The only difference is that the “Donda” variation is stretched and lacks an infinity symbol, but still, the similarities are clear.
“It’s disappointing,” Dawkins told The Daily Beast. “We don’t have any bad vibes or bad feelings toward him, we actually like the dude. But how he handled business? Well, that’s another story.”
Dawkins told the publication that he and West met through West’s chef, Williw Wallace, who first got in touch in late July. They knew each other through another chef, Travis Reese, who is a fellow Infinity G8ds member. While on the phone, Wallace allegedly encouraged Dawkins to send over items to show West, as Wallace thought he’d be interested. Dawkins then sent five pieces from their latest line, and Wallace called Dawkins with West on the line the very next day.
“I was on the phone directly talking to Kanye,” Dawkins recalled. “He was like, ‘Bro, I really love your design. It’s really dope. When can I meet you to talk about your process?’ His exact words, he said that he wants to talk to me about my mind.”
Dawkins and his team then drove to Atlanta from Miami on Monday, July 26 (all of which is documented) to meet with West, who then queried the designers about the meaning behind the symbolism on their shirts.
“The conversation was pretty general,” Dawkins said. “He just wanted to understand our process—what does the design represent? We explained it to him and broke it down. We are very deep into spirituality; we try to inspire people on that. He was really loving it because he’s on his own spiritual journey, as well. He was loving the whole idea, the whole design. He was so intrigued. He’s spiritual to a certain point and because he’s doing all this Jesus stuff.”
“He started to sell us dreams about doing business with him, and that was the meeting,” Dawkins continued. “He asked us to hang around for dinner, and we ate dinner with them. At the end of the meeting, he told us he was going to keep in contact with us but never did.”
Upon seeing such a similar design on the ultimate “Donda” logo, after not having heard anything from West, Dawkins and the group repeatedly attempted to get in contact with the rapper — but to no avail. Desperate, they turned to social media, sharing footage of their conversations with West as well as screenshots confirming their visit, attempting to, at the very least, get credit for their designs.
“This situation was definitely unfortunate,” he said. “But we have to speak up about it to defend our brand because that could definitely [hinder] us in terms of him putting that out. We’ve had our brand out and because of his platform and his public visibility, it could dampen what we got going on because we are a small, upcoming brand.”
My video keeps on getting deleted but full story on IG Your worth 6.6 billion the least you could of did was give me some credit . #Donda #Kanye ‼️
“Our side of the story is, we’re not mad at you, but from one Black artist to another Black artist, he could have said, ‘I see what you got going on, let’s help you gain some exposure, some visibility. That’s all we ask. We’re not the only victims in this rampage. We hope that people come out and really speak upon their side of this story as well, because I feel like there needs to be protection for our small businesses.”
West’s reps did not immediately respond to requests for comment.