Erin Carbone | Contributing Columnist
In recent years, rapper Kanye West has taken very public steps toward Christianity. West, the winner of 21 Grammy Awards, recently released the gospel album Jesus is King on Oct. 25, 2019. This latest release gave West the best streaming week of his career and debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart. These numbers are not because West produced a fantastic or groundbreaking album but because of the public fascination surrounding the man and his numerous attempts to obtain power, and his cultish tendencies.
Christianity is not new to West. He said that during his childhood in inner-city Chicago that it “wasn’t an option,” to not be Christian. West has also opened up about how the Christian ideals are strongly implanted in him.
Jesus is King is not the first time West has produced songs with Christian themes to the public. In 2004, West released “Jesus Walks” and was revered for being one of the first mainstream rappers to rap about religion.
Since 2004, West has taken major steps in publicly showing off his Christians roots. In early 2019 West began operating “Sunday Services.” These private gatherings are open to a select few, who are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before entering the service. It is unclear exactly what is practiced at these gatherings. From what the public is privy to, via Instagram posts from celebrities and members of the Kardashian-West family, it seems that the majority of the event is West performing his own songs with a gospel choir, who are often clothed in matching apparel from the rapper’s own fashion line, Yeezy.
These “Sunday Services” have garnered massive attention from the public and have left many people wondering if West will one day start his very own church. Reportedly, West is thinking about this idea.
If West was to start a church, it would just be another one of his attempts to grab power. Remember West’s public declaration in 2016 that he would be running for president? I believe that this was his first attempt of surrounding himself with supporters in order to gain traction and power. When his candidacy was not met with the eagerness he was expecting, West switched his focus to religion.
“Sunday Services” have allowed Kanye to gain a religious following, on top of his already fanatic fanbase. As mentioned before, the gospel choir at the services are dressed completely in Yeezy, almost as if West is enforcing a dress code. West wants to uniform and control the people around him.
On a recent episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which West’s wife Kim Kardashian stars on, West is seen telling his wife that the way she dresses is “disrespectful to him.” Kardashian, who has built her career on being a sex symbol, announced a few weeks after the episode aired that she would start to dress more conservatively.
Most recently West has claimed that he will be changing his name to “Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West.” This a bright flashing sign that West is getting too pompous with his following and his power.
The power that West has accrued should frighten people. He has a growing following in entertainment, fashion and now, religion. His recent announcement for a planned run in the 2024 presidential elections should be a red flag to the public. West is getting his hands into everything he can in an attempt to control it all. The amount of power that West has is dangerous and can be used to brainwash the youth of America. That is where his behavior becomes cultish.
West is regarded as one of the best rappers and he has undoubtedly made some amazing records. Additionally, I think it is great that he has had a spiritual awakening and follows a religion. That is where the praise should stop. If his fans continue to endorse the idea that he is “Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West,” he will take the power that comes with that title and run with it. He’s already proven that he’s able to accomplish a lot with the power he has, and who can say what he’ll do?