‘Jeen-Yuhs’ Directors Denied Kanye’s Final Cut Demands Because ‘It’s Just Not Good for the Filmmaking’

"There are certain rules in documentary filmmaking for it to be authentic," said director Chike Ozah.

Netflix’s highly anticipated Kanye West documentary “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” began streaming last week, but you would be forgiven for losing track of West’s constantly evolving stance on the film. In the weeks leading up to its release he publicly demanded to re-edit the film in order to “control [his] image,” and baselessly threatened to block the documentary from being released. Soon after, he once again took to Instagram to request that Drake record new narration for the documentary. But he eventually attended a screening of the film arranged by Netflix and was seen embracing the film’s directors before addressing the crowd. Since then, he has used his social media following to passionately promote the film, and even celebrated when it briefly became the most viewed item on Netflix.

Despite not having final say over the film, it appears that West is pleased with how it turned out. So are directors Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah, who spent over 20 years filming the rapper. In a new interview with Business Insider, the filmmakers defended their process and the decision to leave West out of the editing room.

“For us, as filmmakers, the name of our company is Creative Control, so, there are just certain rules in documentary filmmaking for it to be authentic,” Ozah said. “And for it to resonate, people need to see certain things. So sometimes it’s just not best for the filmmaking for the subject, who the film is largely about, to have control over the direction the story goes in.”

While the directors noted that West had been aware of the project since its inception and could have stopped them from filming him at any time if he objected to it, they also remained adamant that his input was welcome, even if he did not have final say. “Obviously, the input of Kanye’s team has always been welcome and we’re out to make the best documentary possible,” Ozah said. “This documentary, like we said, is a period in creating Kanye’s larger message. That’s the message that we’re protecting. That’s the message that we want the people to feel.”

The second chapter of “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” streams on Netflix on Wednesday, February 23. 

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