• Donny Willis

21 Years in the Making, a Kanye West documentary, has been sold to Netflix for $30 million.

The multi-part series, which has been in the works for more than 20 years, will contain never-before-seen footage and home videos from the superstar.

Two music video and filmmakers who have been chronicling the artist-turned-billionaire entrepreneur's life and career for more than 20 years are releasing a multi-part documentary featuring never-before-seen home videos and other exclusive footage of Kanye West in 2021.



According to sources familiar with the project, the streaming service has acquired the untitled project from Clarence "Coodie" Simmons and Chike Ozah, who directed two of West's first films, "Through the Wire" and the third edition of "Jesus Walks." (In a 2014 interview with Billboard, Simmons said that West asked them to re-imagine the song because the first two versions, directed by other people, "don't have the soul and feeling that I want.")


According to one of those outlets, Netflix paid upwards of $30 million for the miniseries. Later this year, it'll be available on the streaming service.


Coodie and Chike have since moved into longform material, directing the 2012 ESPN 30-for-30 film Benji, about the shooting death of Ben Wilson, a talented high-school basketball player, and the effect it had on his Chicago community, as well as the 2019 Netflix documentary A Kid From Coney Island, about former NBA player Stephon Marbury.


TIME Studios, the Emmy-winning film and TV arm of TIME, will produce the West docuseries with the duo's Creative Control company, which previously created the 2020 documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble about the late Civil Rights hero and Georgia Congressman, as well as the 2018 Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace.


According to another source, Simmons has been filming West in Chicago since the 1990s, and their friendship will serve as the foundation for the documentary series, which will chronicle the rapper and producer's rise to prominence and the influence of fame on him, as well as hip-impact hop's on popular culture and the world's changing relationship with celebrity.


The series will also deal with the death of West's mother, Donda West, and the effect it had on the rapper; his personal evolution in recent years; his successful transition into fashion design; and his unsuccessful run for President in 2020, according to the second source. It's uncertain if the show will also cover West's divorce from Kim Kardashian in 2021.


Although West is not involved in the production creatively, according to the second source, he has effectively provided his help by allowing himself to be filmed by Coodie & Chike for the past 21 years.


Steve Stanulis, who served as West's bodyguard in 2016, is pitching a new documentary about him in Hollywood. Stanulis, a former New York cop and Chippendales dancer who now produces, directs, and acts in films, said in a March interview with the New York Post's Page Six column that the movie will follow his turbulent relationship with West during an eventful year in West's life, which included his backstage tirade prior to a musical appearance on Saturday Night Live that February.


Stanulis, who has been threatened with legal action by West's attorneys twice for critical public remarks regarding the rapper, refused to comment for this post. The project is “still in talks with various platforms,” according to his publicist, but has not yet sold.


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