by G. Brown
Secular music has its legendary singers and so does gospel. Gospel stars don’t get much bigger than Kirk Franklin and Erica Campbell. Franklin revolutionized gospel music by crushing conventional church music and pushing boundaries by adding a hip hop element to praise and worship. Campbell as one half of the “Mary Mary” duo set generations free with their first hit “Shackles” and lifted spirits with a total of seven albums and earned numerous American Music Awards, ASCAP’s Golden Note Award, 7 Dove Awards and four Grammy Awards.
Both artists know music and they know enough about the Word of God not to judge Kanye and his Sunday Services. In an article by Atlanta Black Star, Franklin says, “I’m excited for any human being that is finding the medicine that lies within the gospel of Jesus Christ…Because that is the healing balm, right? It’s good for me, it was good for mama, good for grandmama, so it’s good for Kanye.”
The “Life of Pablo” singer made headlines at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with his open air church service. Kanye’s Sunday Services is a described by NPR as an “exclusive, musical worship gatherings for the rich and famous, from Katy Perry and Diplo to Tyler, the Creator.” The NPR article notes, West’s services aren’t so much about piety as they are about self-promotion.” NPR quotes a reporter who attended the Coachella service and says, “With Kanye, it’s always been this very complicated dance between whether he is worshiping God or subsuming God to his own ends…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,”
TRN first told you about Kanye’s worship services in April during Coachella where parishioners didn’t leave empty handed so long as they didn’t come. The service was selling everything from $50 tube socks to sweatshirts for $225.
While some think this come to Jesus moment is new for Kanye, it really isn’t. He’s been singing about Jesus since his first album. His 2004 debut “The College Dropout” spawned one of his first hits with the single “Jesus Walks”.
While many fans and critics aren’t sure if Kanye is sincere or playing church, singer Campbell joins Franklin in taking a scriptural stance of not casting the first stone saying, “For somebody to be selling that many records and be having that much success and go ‘I want to do a gospel record,’ God is doing something in their heart…”
What do you think, should people be willing to turn the other cheek and believe Kanye is sincere in the worship services? Or do you think Kanye isn’t so much a prophet as he is a profiteer selling religion?