A multi-part documentary featuring never-before-seen home videos and other rare footage of Kanye West is coming to Netflix in 2021 via two music-video and filmmakers who have been chronicling the artist-turned-billionaire entrepreneur’s life and work for more than 20 years.
Sources familiar with the project say the streaming service has acquired the yet-to-be titled project from TIME Studios and Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah — more commonly known as Coodie & Chike — who directed two of West’s first videos, “Through the Wire” and the third version of “Jesus Walks.” (In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Simmons said that West asked them to take another crack at interpreting the song because, he said, the first two versions, helmed by other directors, “don’t have the soul and feeling that I want.”)
One of those sources says Netflix acquired the miniseries for upwards of $30 million. It is expected to debut on the streaming service later this year.
Coodie and Chike have since expanded into longform content, directing the 2012 ESPN 30-for-30 film Benji, about the shooting death of Ben Wilson, a promising high-school basketball player, and its impact on his Chicago community; and the 2019 Netflix documentary about former NBA story Stephon Marbury, A Kid From Coney Island.
The duo’s Creative Control company will produce the West docuseries with TIME Studios, the Emmy-winning film and TV arm of TIME, which produced the 2020 documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble about the late Civil Rights hero and Georgia Congressman and the 2018 Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace.
Another source says Simmons has been filming West since the 1990s in Chicago, and their relationship will serve as the backbone of the documentary series, which will tell the story of the rapper and producer’s rise to success and fame’s impact on him as well hip-hop’s impact on popular culture and the world’s evolving relationship with celebrity.
Using never-before-seen footage and home videos, the second source says the series will also deal with the death of West’s mother, Donda West, and the impact it had on the rapper; his personal evolution in recent years; his successful move into fashion design and his unsuccessful run for President in 2020. It’s unclear, however, whether the series will also chronicle West’s 2021 divorce from Kim Kardashian.
While West is not creatively involved in the production, the second source says he essentially has given his support by allowing himself to be filmed by Coodie & Chike for 21 years.
Another documentary about West is being pitched in Hollywood by Steve Stanulis, who worked as West’s bodyguard in 2016. In a March interview with the New York Post’s Page Six column, Stanulis — a former New York cop and Chippendales dancer who currently produces, directs and acts in movies — said the project would trace his stormy relationship with the rapper during an eventful year in West’s life, which included his backstage tirade prior to a musical performance on Saturday Night Live that February.
Stanulis, who has twice been threatened with lawsuits by West’s lawyers for critical public comments he made about the rapper, declined to comment for this article. According to his PR rep. the project is “still in discussions with multiple platforms” but has not sold yet.
Netflix declined to comment on this story. West’s rep did not respond to request for comment at time of publishing.