Kanye West performing at Coachella
Are Kanye West's religious convictions legitimate? Or is his born-again Christianity just another avenue to sell merchandise and line the rapper's pockets?

If you haven't already heard, rap legend Kanye West has been born-again big time.

The title of his upcoming album 'Jesus Is King' should be a dead giveaway. But if it isn't, the fact that the polarizing rap icon has been performing weekly in gospel venues and churches around the country should be. West's so-called 'Sunday Service' drives home his born-again admiration for Jesus, but some Christians are turned off by the unique blending of religion, music, and entrepreneurship that only Kanye West could pull off.

This past weekend, unsuspecting churchgoers who flocked to the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Queens, dressed in their regular Sunday best, were puzzled to see their sacred pulpit moved halfway through the ceremony so that the hundred-strong choir could back Kanye West. And while the performance thrilled throngs of Kanye fans, many of the regular congregants walked out halfway through the performance.

Sunday Service

Kim Kardashian, West's wife, business partner, and bra-less Sunday Service cheerleader, is the first to admit this isn't exactly your parent's church. She says "there's no praying. There's no sermon. There's no Word. It's just music. And it's just a feeling."

Despite the secular disclaimer and well-publicized celebrity appearances from Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber and Kate Perry, the iconic rapper's decision to exploit his faith and trademark the phrase for his sermon-like concerts, merchandising line, and upcoming IMAX movie, has more than a few Christians holding their noses.

"The religion is Kanye," declared entertainment news journalist Roger Friedman, pointing out the word "SHOP" draped throughout the entire New York livestream, linking back to his site, where you could buy "cheap, ugly t shirts that read, 'Jesus is King,' for 50 clams. Doesn't that just give away the whole purpose of this thing?"

!#https://twitter.com/Aaronofthewild/status/1177475391767769089 #!
Not everyone is thrilled about Kanye West's new album.

West faced similar backlash for looking to cash in on Christianity when he hawked $225 hoodies with slogans like "Holy Spirit" and "Sunday Service at the Mountain" at his Coachella Easter Sunday service. Indeed, passing off musical performance as religion is nothing new: West's 2013 album Yeezus, a title most Christians would likely find blasphemous, featured a song called "I Am A God" - a song most Christians would likely find blasphemous. And West himself proclaimed that his 2016 album 'The Life of Pablo' was a gospel album. For those who've listened to that album, some of the lyrics may raise an eyebrow on West's genre classification.

Kanye, Christ, and Controversy

Is this the turning over of a Godly new leaf for West, the start of a redemptive arc after years of a very public struggle with mental health? Or is this just a continuation of what West has always done: mixing music, religion, and entrepreneurship?

After all, this is far from the first time West has courted religious controversy. Back in 2006, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone dressed as Jesus with a crown of thorns.

Still, West's Sunday Services does have its defenders. James Gardin, a writer for Rapzilla, said the service works for the faithful and nonbelievers alike. Gardin said that many of the nonbelievers in attendance "probably would have never stepped foot in a church but the Church came to their turf this time." He continued: "I think this should be very inspiring to believers worldwide. The sermon didn't water down the fact that we need to be saved and that Jesus is the one to do the job."

But Premier Christianity magazine columnist Tobi Oredein doesn't cut the artist the same slack, insisting West's church is simply a marketing campaign for his music and fashion brand. "He's employing a choir of people who are not only singing his songs, but are all dressed in his apparel. Is Christ really at the center of this gathering? I'm not sure he is."

Where do you fall? Are Kanye West's religious convictions actually sincere? Or are these Sunday Services yet another high concept blending of music and capitalism - with a biblical twist?

32 comments

  1. Chris's Avatar Chris

    He's not doing anything a lot of other "churches" aren't doing. He's just putting his name behind it and cashing in personally. Seriously, does anyone believe Joel Osteen is sincere in his beliefs?

    I don't know if Kanye really has converted or not. I know I wouldn't attend one of his "services" because I'm not a fan of the modernization trend. Not that I want masses done in Latin, but I prefer a more traditional service. And I don't like his type of entertainment. Still, since there's no laws being broken no harm is being done, right?

    1. Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth's Avatar Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth

      Well put. Blessings...

    2. marissa heath-harris's Avatar marissa heath-harris

      I think most believers think this all for money. That is why when he does his Sunday service it is all fans. When he did his service in atlanta a few weeks ago the line was around the building..yet hardly anyone was dressed for church..they were dressed for a club. When they were allowed in they had them stand near the back so it wouldn't show in pictures. And the pastor of the church kept talking about needing money, yet he said he asked no more than usual. But yes he did he wanted those rappers and partygoers to ante up. It truly felt like it was all for money.

      1. Peter Chappell's Avatar Peter Chappell

        you are correct..it is all about money and marketing Kane....I cannot believe that people are that dense

    3. Amira's Avatar Amira

      No one can rightfully judge anyone. This is his life and his own expressions of it. I would not take away his right through judging him so aggressively. Promoting peace come in all forms worry about yours.

  1. Stephanie Willey's Avatar Stephanie Willey

    Yet one more greedy grifter commercializing Jesus.

    1. Lea Weisenbach's Avatar Lea Weisenbach

      ?

    2. Br'er George's Avatar Br'er George

      Yup!

  1. Alicia's Avatar Alicia

    This man and the family he's associated with will do anything for a buck. the only things they all worship are the almighty dollar and attention. Nothing "spiritual" about any of them.

    1. Brian's Avatar Brian

      Totally agree. This man is a walking mental illness, as is the family he’s a part if, and like them, will do anything gor another dollar. ?

      1. Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth's Avatar Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth

        Ironically as it may sound, if you are a Christian, or a person who love God, you probably would be throwing stones at Lord and play a vital part in his crucifixion, and, or play the same monstrous role in hanging blacks. Your hatred comes through very strong. This is just my opinion from reading your post. I forgot why I stop being a part of this monastery, until I started reading the stir up messages, that perpetuate hate and judging. Non is perfect but God, not even me, but I hope I use more of my words, and deeds to help, lift up and bring people to God.

        Minister PT Stallworth

  1. Loren's Avatar Loren

    I don't see any difference between this and any other religion.

    1. Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth's Avatar Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth

      I agree. Amen!

  1. daniel's Avatar daniel

    how can this man tell me about God. when he has not paid his dues.

  1. B. t. Osborn's Avatar B. t. Osborn

    If he has truly accepted Christ, then he should donate the entirety of his wealth to the poor and live as St. Francis did.

  1. Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth's Avatar Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth

    If we as people, who confess that we love God do more praying and illustrating The Love of God for all mankind and stop judging and condemning others who may be different, or have different views, this would be a better world, and I think God would be well please. Remember, look at the mote in your eyes before judging others. None is perfect but God and God is the good Spirit that lives in us.

    Minister PT Stallworth

    1. John Frierson's Avatar John Frierson

      Well said...

    2. Ronnie P Cooper's Avatar Ronnie P Cooper

      This is Pastor Ron from Tennessee I normally don't comment that much unless something really Sparks my attention through the other comments or just the general situation of what's in the newsletter the particular article however in regards to this it doesn't say that you have to be a particular type of person to find Christ or to praise him they'd also does not say anything about how you do it as long as when you do it you're not teaching or praising against his word and it says that church and fellowship is anywhere where two or more people Gather in my name so if he's doing this in God's name or he's at least spreading some type of positive message of God when he's doing this then he's not doing anything wrong now on the other hand if he is doing this solely for God it also is known that you are not supposed to do anything in his name in order for profit personal profit so whatever he's making or whatever it is he selling outside of his cost it should be donated to whatever Church it is that he's having this service in if that's his true purpose or put into a charitable fund to help people with other Ministries or Outreach programs that are for Spiritual reasons for him to profit from these is blasphemy for any Pastor or person of God who claims to have been chosen or had a calling put up on them and to be spreading the word of God to groups or individuals of people and profiting from it is blasphemy in a sin in itself I don't accept anything from the people that I come in contact with and spread the word of God to on my daily basis or even in a Sunday service because I have a job that's how I support my family and myself and my lifestyle I do not use the word of God to support my lifestyle or myself that is what is to go to the church to continue the ministry so anyone who's accepting any money for profit on behalf of God's word or in the name of God's word is a center before the words are even spoken and that's just my thought and for as far as judgment or to persecute any individual on here that is doing anything like this particular conversation remember the Bible says judge not lest ye be judged and don't throw stones at the person with the glass house so yeah we have to think of all of those things if someone is doing something wrong we can have an opinion about it we can speak on it but we're not to judge it for judgment is his and his alone so he'll face his judgment if his heart is not pure in what he's doing as well anyone else who hasn't done Pure Heart in mind when using God for a personal profit

  1. Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth's Avatar Patricia T Taylor-Stallworth

    Please remove me from your hatred and judgement organization. I do not want to be a part of this organization anymore.

    1. Oh Mo's Avatar Oh Mo

      Don't let the door hit your butt on your way out. ?

    2. Rob Hall's Avatar Rob Hall

      Why are you judging the organization because of a few commentators? I rarely read the comments for just the reasons you have identified, but I still benefit from reading the articles. I would certainly encourage you to do the same. I seriously doubt anyone has ever changed anyone else's opinion through comments on the internet, so the easiest thing to do is just rise above and not get pulled down into the mud. With things as they are these days, there's more than enough negative energy floating around already; I don't need any more. I hope you stay! Peace.

  1. Andrew Cabrera's Avatar Andrew Cabrera

    If Kanye thinks himself than Trump is his disciple spreading the word and taking from all

  1. Ruth zkyle's Avatar Ruth zkyle

    KANYE WEST IS BIPOLAR 3. HES NOT TAKING HIS MEDICATION. THESE GRANDIOSE SCHEMES HE HAS IS SYMTOMATIC OF HIS MENTAL DISORDER.
    HOW DO I KNOW,?IM BIPOLAR MYSELF.. I HOPE HE GETS HELP FROM THE LORD..

    1. marissa heath-harris's Avatar marissa heath-harris

      I agree ruth unfortunately he doesn't think he needs the help and feels god is helping him..because he is seeing a benefit. I hope he finds the help he needs too. It is horrible to live like that not just for yourself but the others around you. And he will only get the help when he finally asks.

  1. Philip Arrington's Avatar Philip Arrington

    I pray that God lead him and guide him in a direction that is in the will of God .Our goal and purpose ,Matthew 28:19 :to go and make disciples of all the nations. I pray that God lead him and direct him in the right direction with conviction through the Holy Spirit if it may apply .

  1. rev. Dr. o.s. McClain's Avatar rev. Dr. o.s. McClain

    He's asking for help.

  1. Reginald Rook's Avatar Reginald Rook

    If Kanye is able to lead even a small percentage of his followers his come to know the love of the Lord God almighty, His grace and the forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ, what else really matters. And if some clown wants to spend $2200 on a jacket, that's their problem.

  1. Minister Nicole Broome's Avatar Minister Nicole Broome

    I took a look at one of the services and although the music was good i couldn't help wandering when were they going to preach and thet never did now this is very concerning to me because of tge mass of followers my question what is being taught? We can't afford another Jim Jones episode.

  1. KING's Avatar KING

    Kanye is a deranged idiot. But it sounds just like what the other super churches do every week when they exploit less than intelligent masses with the same attempt at brainwashing.

  1. Clarke Alexander's Avatar Clarke Alexander

    Kanye is as phony as a wooden watch.

  1. Rogers's Avatar Rogers

    Many churches are not going where people need them most, the hurting, the wounded, those that are in the by ways and highways in the dark places needed God. No one can understand how God works, he uses people to reach people that others cannot do. in these last days, many celebrities will be used by God as mouth pieces, and it will challenge the norms in the churches,

    don't underestimate what God is doing, Merchandise go all the time in TV evangelists and in churches, we live in a world where money is needed to do almost everything now.

    God bless you Kayne, Trust God and May he be with you and guide you.

  1. Rogers's Avatar Rogers

    Bless his heart. He is starting his walk in Jesus. God will use many celebrities in this last day.. Never underestimate what God is up to.

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