Ray West, 72, set up the Good Water foundation in the Dominican Republic several years ago to help victims of prostitution and corruption and was on the island when a massive earthquake hit in neighboring Haiti this month. Just two days later, the poverty-stricken neighborhood where he lives was slammed by a tropical storm.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Brenda Bentley, who began dating Ray after his divorce from Kanye’s late mother Donda, spoke of Ray’s battle with cancer, seeing Kanye grow up and the father and son’s relationship.
Kanye is notably vocal about his love for his mother Donda, even naming is latest album after her, but has shown he still has room in his heart for his father throughout the years.
Kanye West’s father Ray West, 72, has been living in the Dominican Republic for years and has set up a charity, the Good Water foundation
Ray lives where crime runs rampant and he was on the island when it was shaken by a massive earthquake in neighboring Haiti this month
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Kanye’s former stepmother Brenda Bentley (pictured), 66, said Ray faces danger daily but is dedicated to the charity
Ray was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and returned to the U.S. for treatment.
During that time, he attended recording sessions for Kanye’s album, Ye, and the rapper even invited him to co-star with Kim Kardashian in a music video, ‘Follow God,’ shot at the mogul’s sprawling $14million Wyoming ranch.
Kanye is notably vocal about his love for his mother Donda, even naming is latest album after her, but has shown he still has love for his father throughout the years. He and Donda are pictured at the 2006 Grammy awards
‘It took me 42 years to realize that my dad was my best friend,’ Kanye said.
His cancer diagnosis devastated Kanye, coming just over 10 years after Donda died, whose sudden death after cosmetic surgery triggered his mental breakdown in 2016.
But after beating the cancer, Ray insisted on returning to the Dominican Republic.
Brenda, 66, who was engaged twice to Ray and remains close to the rapper’s dad, spoke of his life on the Carribean island.
‘They get shocks from earthquakes there a lot and he said this one shook him up but that it really didn’t do too much damage,’ she said.
‘It also is dangerous in the DR because of high crime. There’s not a lot of police activity. Most people at Ray’s age would put their feet up but he’s still got his vision. I’ve been there to see his work. He’s doing good.’
Ray was a member of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s and 70s.
After Kanye’s birth, however, he became a prominent photojournalist. He was famed for portraits of poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou and President Ronald Reagan.
But he gave up his media career to do charity work.
He started by moving into a homeless shelter, ‘not because he was homeless,’ confided Kanye, but ‘because he wanted to help the ex-drug addicts, he wanted to get that close.’
He launched the Dominican Republic foundation to help with victims of prostitution and corruption.
While undergoing treatment, Ray attended recording sessions for Kanye’s album, Ye, and the rapper even invited him to co-star with Kim Kardashian in a music video, ‘Follow God,’ shot at the mogul’s sprawling $14 million Wyoming ranch
‘It took me 42 years to realize that my dad was my best friend,’ Kanye said in a post
Ray was a member of the Black Panther Party during the 1960s and 70s. After Kanye’s birth he became a prominent photojournalist
‘He’s financing the work himself,’ Brenda told DailyMail.com. ‘He sells purified water and uses the profits to fund projects like healthcare for women.’
Brenda first met Kanye when he was nine.
He was raised by Donda but would visit ‘Miss Brenda’ – as he called her -for summer vacations. He kept in touch with her after Donda’s death.
‘After Donda’s passing, when I was around him he seemed like he really held it together well, but you really grieve in those private times,’ she said.
‘In getting his career back, he held it together. But you could see the cracks.
‘It left a gaping hole in Kanye’s life. Donda was his everything.’