A website posing as a project of Kanye West's design company DONDA is fake, a source close to West confirmed to The Huffington Post.
The site, Whodat.biz, claimed to be DONDA's first public-facing product, but seems to be an elaborate ruse. Dubbed the "Facebook of Websites," it offers its "customers" a WHOIS database, which allows readers to quickly look up information on the registered owners of domain names.
Of course, it's unclear why West or DONDA would have any interest in such a project. In the Twitter screed that West used to announce DONDA creation, he pledged that the firm would help fix "broken systems" (as in schools and jails). Providing information that's already available on many other sites doesn't seem to flush with that mission.
Earlier on Wednesday, West's creative director Virgil Abloh cast doubt on the website's authenticity on Twitter:
The source, who was with West at the time HuffPost reached him, was unaware of the site until we asked, perhaps a sign that the site didn't make as much of a splash as it may have intended.
The aesthetics of Whodat.biz seem to ape the boldface art that West used to promote his G.O.O.D. Friday singles. Pop Dust notes that the self-described "new media artist" and "shaman of the singularity" Sterling Crispin was the first follower of the "dondamedia" Twitter account, which is promoted on Whodat.biz. Crispin is working on a digital media project and has been described as a prankster.
West announced the creation of DONDA in January, describing it as a daring if vaguely defined design firm. It will be comprised, West tweeted, of over 22 divisions staffed by "architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts, app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionists, doctors, scientists and teachers."
In addition, West wrote that he wants to help reshape the American school system, which he says was "designed to turn people into factory workers." That includes starting a summer school with director Spike Jonze. "There are so many broken systems from the economy to school systems jail systems... we need experts for this," he later said, promising that his creativity and ability to bring experts together would be of service in the effort to solve intractable problems.
DONDA was named after West's late mother, a scholar who passed away in 2007 from complications following a surgery.
Kanye West's Vision For DONDA: