Kanye West has found himself the subject of countless controversies that range from the uninformed comments he made about slavery to his unapologetic support of Donald Trump, but recently the rapper has been trying his hand at ministering to the elite. One viral Twitter thread questioned whether the Yeezy’s latest ascension into the divine is merely a way to sell the Black church experience to his devoted, wealthy, non-white fans.
Since the very first Sunday of 2019, West and his social media mogul wife, Kim Kardashian, have given up snippets of what West has called his Sunday Service. What we know so far about the service is that it is invite-only and it is definitely not an invitation that is easy to come by as the likes of pop singers Katy Perry and Courtney Love have attended. It’s been held both indoors and outside and described as musical worship. A Black choir performs mostly West’s own songs and in a lot of the videos, you can see mostly white attendees looking on.
Kardashian and her family have boasted in interviews that the service is “about feeling” and less about sermons. And though there are people who have watched short videos of the exclusive service, the whole idea of it has not sat right with some.
“Does anyone else find it idk….f**ing weird….that kanye and kim are making the black church experience into some exclusive thing where ~white~ people go and stand around & record bc it’s like *fascinating* or something….this feels weird,” one user wrote.
Countless other users began to comment under the tweet debating on the topic with some defending the rapper and others agreeing that West was more concerned with profit than with praising God.
Another user did not agree.
Though many people had a lot to say about the West’s makeshift church, no one can deny that he has made headlines for charging astronomical prices for merchandise related to his service. “Church Merch,” the line of clothing items West was selling online and sold at a booth at Coachella caused serious backlash during Easter Sunday as it has been reported that mere t-shirts were going for $70, sweatshirts were $125 and socks were $50. West was forced to shut down his booth after people complained about the prices. There were even reports that West, who has expressed wanting to become an ordained minister, is working on a CD and documentary about his “church.”
Something else that was noticed by people who have been keeping up with his services is the fact that West himself seemed to be the point of worship and the whole thing seemed to be more about self-promotion.
“He is the church… he is the text of the sermon. It’s his songs. He is the worship. He is creating a church in himself and selling it, really,” Jia Tolentino of The New Yorker said. “It comes down to this complicated relationship between, you know, being a prophet or a supplicant.”
No matter what we may think of West and his service, there definitely seems to be no stopping what is quickly becoming a must-have invite for the elite.