jeen-yuhs isn't just about kanye
here for a good time AND a long-time. unpacking act 1 of the nextflix documentary 'jeen-yuhs'
You might have seen the Netflix documentary, jeen-yuhs, which documents over 20 years of Kanye’s rise from a mid-range producer to... well Kanye.
But this isn’t about how great or difficult Kanye is, or what fame can do to a person. In fact, Kanye is the supporting cast member in this story.
What struck me deeply was Coodie Simmons’ story — something that has been slightly overlooked in the discourse around jeen-yuhs, but I think it’s one of the most fascinating things. Coodie, is the reason we even have this content, this proof, this evidence of the journey.
A glimpse is more than enough
It’s fascinating to me that way back in 1998, Coodie met Kanye for the first time, and within a year decided to give up his comedy career to follow this producer-turned-aspiring rapper. Before the deals. Before the mainstream acceptance. Before it all.
Coodie caught the glimpse that I hope we all catch at some point (or many points) in our lives. A glimpse of something special: that interest, that hobby, that relationship, that new platform that captivates our entire being. The thing we feel deep in our guts. The thing that you can try and ignore, or silence with distractions but you can never deny. The thing called passion (watch this).
Could you stick at something for this long?
As I sat and watched Act 1 with a friend, she was thrown into a complete tailspin. She opined and questioned herself: ‘I can barely watch a 3 minute TikTok video, less than a year into this job and I want to move… what have I actually stuck to recently? Do I even have it in me to stick to anything at all?’
I think it’s a question we should all ask ourselves at some point. But before we dive into self-deprecation or feeling like we’ve missed something major — pause.
This isn’t about forcing yourself to stick with something just for the sake of it, unnecessary long-suffering isn’t admirable. Being out of alignment with That Thing just so you can say you stuck it out isn’t always wise. If you’ve been part of this community for a while, you’ll know I am the cheerleader of #JustQuit ministries.
The reality is two things can be and pretty much always are true at once. Being able to quit is just as powerful as knowing when to stay. The question really is: how do we discern the difference?
First, when you’re driven by passion, it gets easier to filter out the well-meaning but distracting advice. There’s an innate voice that may not be the loudest or most talkative, but when it speaks? It’s SPOT. ON. So stop trying to overengineer things and let your spirit speak. Yes, your spirit. This is a spiritual journey, not a career journey. Even Coodie & Chike said it themselves: this is a faith-based documentary. God is in everything.
(Sidenote: When I think about getting a glimpse into the future, I can’t help but recall this song. When you get a vision, everything else falls into perspective)
Second? Don’t expect accolades or applause overnight. When we get fixated on these extras, it’s easy to abort the sometimes tedious steps it takes to get there. There’s a hairline thin difference between letting your big idea inspire you to keep going and becoming frustrated if it doesn’t manifest in your timing.
This isn’t unique to Coodie or Kanye, this is a universal principle that really works
This whole scenario reminded me of something that the speaker, author, founder Christine Caine once spoke about. When people ask her how she speaks to hundreds of thousands, has written bestselling books and much more, her response is simple: she ‘stayed at her post’. Most people in her field moved on when things got slow or dry, not realising that it was a temporary season. When you’re one of the only people left running the race, you have a monopoly on future opportunities.
Most people don’t have the focus to run the full race, we get distracted by external pressures or short-term ‘opportunities’. Whether it was sweeping rooms after youth meetings in her teens, to filling in for speakers who dropped out — Christine made the choice to stick to the community where she found that spark. And from that? Everything else fell into place over 3 decades.
“The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it” — Matthew
Coodie started filming in 1998, and Kanye’s chart-topping industry-shifting debut album dropped in 2004. That’s six years of leaning on a strong and visceral gut feeling, even in the face of rejection and disinterest from gatekeepers.
We can all agree that the risk he took on this guy called Kanye, was worth it.
Have you got six (or more) years of waiting in you? Have you got six years of patience? I doubt he was the only person who thought this Kanye guy was good, but how many of us would have trusted that instinct long enough to find out we were right all along?
It’s easy to talk about what we believe, but the truth is revealed in your choices. Coodie chose to build on the glimpse he saw, and in exchange? Discovered an entire career in video and is now telling the story of one of the most influential artists of this generation… with a Netflix deal.
I guess Coodie is a jeen-yuhs too.
How do you discern the difference between knowing when to stick with something versus letting it go? What blew your mind most during Act 1 of jeen-yuhs? Let’s unpack in the comments.