27 sep 2021

Kanye West at the heart of a new BBC documentary: is it really necessary?

After Jeen-Yuhs, a documentary series about the life of Kanye West broadcast by Netflix in 2022, the documentary produced by the BBC We Need to Talk About Kanye will look back at the life of the controversial rapper. But was it really necessary? 

Since last year, Kanye West is no longer popular. The artist, who accumulates controversies, meltdowns (especially following his divorce from
Kim Kardashian
)  and anti-Semitic and conspiracy theories, is blacklisted from the music industry. And its contract with
was terminated, which would have caused 700 million in financial losses for the brand. However, the rapper, who ran for president in 2020, will once again be at the heart of a documentary. Directed by Mobeen Azhar, a journalist for the BBC (the channel on which the object will be broadcast), the film entitled 
We Need to Talk About Kanye
 will look back at the career and life of the artist since the 2000s. And as if that wasn’t enough, it will be accompanied by an eight-episode podcast dissecting the rise and fall of Kanye West. 


A documentary about Kanye West,  Jeen-Yuhs, already aired on Netflix


This documentary arrives less than a year after the one broadcast on NetflixJeen-Yuhs, which retraced 20 years of Kanye West’s

career, including many archival footage of his early days. To acquire the rights, the platform had, according to the American magazine Variety, paid $30 million. Filmed over the past twenty years, the documentary series showed personal recordings of the Chicago rapper never before revealed. And unreleased tracks. We followed the musical rise of the artist, from his beginnings as a producer of the cream of New York rap, evolving in the shadow of Jay-Z, to his breakthrough in the world of fashion. More intimate scenes evoked the rapper’s relationship with his mother, Donda West, who inspired several of his tracks. In the documentary, Kanye West was also seen rapping brilliantly with Mos Def on the song Two Words. We were in 2002 and Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband was struggling to make a name for himself. With the fact that it rhymes with decline and controversy.


We Need to Talk About Kanye: OneDocumentary Too Many?


While the three-part Netflix series had some good times in store, there is still skepticism about the usefulness of a new BBC documentary. In addition to shining a spotlight on a controversial man, the film genre has been more than exploited in recent years, since Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Angèle have all been entitled to it. Like the biopic, a format worn to the core, the documentary has become a major marketing weapon. To the detriment, more and more often, of inspiration. 


The BBC documentary We Need to Talk About Kanye (2023)  does not yet have a release date.