Coodie and Chike, the directors behind the decade-spanning, three-part new Kanye West documentary Jeen-Yuhs, say they had no advance notice before Ye suddenly demanded creative control over their film in an Instagram post last week. But the directors have no intention of agreeing to “open the edit room” to Ye, and not just because they’d already finished all three parts, which debut on Netflix Feb. 16. “Me and Chike have a company called Creative Control,” says Coodie, “because you don’t want to lose your creative control.”
At the same time, they were hardly shocked at Ye’s belated attempt to seize control of the project. “If Kanye wasn’t as polarizing of a character as he was, we wouldn’t have an interesting doc,” says Chike. “This just comes with the territory. This is Kanye’s personality, so you just embrace it and then it’s going to take us, take us wherever it takes us…. This is the person that we’re dealing with. We all know what we’re dealing with.”
On Monday (Feb. 1), Coodie ran into Ye in L.A., where they had a friendly conversation — and according to Coodie, Ye didn’t even mention his week-old Instagram post. “I asked him, ‘Did he watch the film?’ And he said, ‘I have a process,'” Coodie says with a laugh. “I said, ‘That’s great that you got your process.’ And we just talked as brothers from that point.” (Representatives for West did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Jeen-Yuhs is one of the most immersive depictions to date of Ye, with scenes ranging from the early 2000s with Jay-Z to the making of 2019’s Jesus Is King, as well as extensive footage of Ye with his mother, Donda West, who died in 2007.
The filmmakers are unabashed Ye fans, but even they can’t quite grapple with his support for Donald Trump. “I can’t make sense of it,” Coodie says. “One thing I realized is that you only have a hundred percent control of your mind and your thoughts, not anybody else’s… And definitely not Kanye.”
In any case, the film is infused with religiosity, and the filmmakers believe a higher power was in charge of their project. “God has the final cut,” adds Coodie.
And as for Ye’s post, which ended up bringing extra attention to the project? “It’s a blessing,” Chike says.