Kanye West, a 42-year-old rapper from Atlanta, has been facing mixed reviews and opinions concerning his new series “Sunday Services.”
At many of his recent services, he has been scrutinized for using the religious setting to advocate for support of Donald Trump and other political views. Members of the administration at Howard University, a historically black university where West recently held a service, spoke out against having a performer they claim is “anti-black” at their university.
These services are being held across the nation, and West said he hopes to provide attendees with a spiritual journey through music.
I grew up with West’s music around me. I remember hit songs “Monster,” “Stronger” and “Gold Digger” blaring out of the stereo. I see no doubt that West, winner of 21 Grammys, has the talent to release an album based off of his Sunday Services.
As a white man, I don’t feel qualified to give an opinion on the racial aspect of his actions. Having been raised in a heavily religious area, there are a few things that I can say.
We live in a time when many people, including myself, feel as if they do not belong in certain Christian denominations. If West wants to unite people of various races, sexual orientations and genders through his Sunday Services, I see no problem.
The new “era” of Kanye West goes against a lot of his previous albums. Those albums focused on the usual themes of sex, drugs and money. Combining gospel and religion for mainstream audiences could be a positive change.
This wouldn’t be the first time that West has gotten religious in his music. One of his famous tracks on his breakout album “The College Dropout” is titled “Jesus Walks” and contains many religious themes.
After watching videos of West’s services and seeing how beautifully he combines inspirational music from black church choirs and ignites happiness inside the attendees of his services, I see no harm in this. Artists as popular as West infrequently give smaller churches and choirs a platform like Kanye does.
Celebrities of all races, genders and sexual orientations have attended his services with praise, and he has caught the attention of many preachers across the nation.
Perhaps these services are West’s way of working on something personal and spiritual within himself. His behavior at his Sunday Services is that of someone who seems to be revived with faith.
I’ll admit that I gave into labeling him as the “bad guy” that social media has painted him as lately. He’s a celebrity who has messed up with his fair share of controversies. Hasn’t every celebrity of his size, though?
Kanye is going to do Kanye, so why not let him find personal happiness in gospel if that’s his reason in putting on the services? West has even been seen smiling lately.
And if this new Kanye isn’t for you or is too religious for your liking, don’t pay him attention. No one is making you listen.
Jarrod Houseknecht is a sophomore majoring in communication studies and public advocacy.
Featured image source: instagram, @Kanyewestt_official