Folks! You would have to be hiding under a rock not to know that Kanye West has declared himself a born again Christian, launched a new album called ‘Jesus is King,’ and has been actively promoting his album, and ‘Sunday Service’ worship events across the country through diverse marketing channels (radio, television, social networks, podcasts etcetera).
Of course everyone has chimed in on the authenticity of his proclamation and one question that keeps coming up is whether he is truly saved or is it just a marketing ploy to sell his latest album? Further, the people who have really doubted him, according to Kanye, has been Christians.
Many of you have solicited my opinion on this hot topic, and below is my response that I recently shared on one of my social networks addressing the issue. I have edited parts of it to tailor it to this platform.
I am not a fan (of Kanye) and while I do not question that he is converted, I understand why Christians and non-Christians question the authenticity of his conversion. From an entertainment standpoint, contrary to what mainstream media will have you believe, gospel music is one of the most profitable genres of music, within and outside the U.S. International sales figures are even more incredible to observe, especially in markets like Africa relevant to the Africa Music Law platform and audience.
So, just because ‘Ye slaps a “Jesus is King” title to his album, goes on a promotional tour with appearances on radio, tv, etc., does not mean that he in fact has a true conversion/transformational experience with Jesus Christ. Further, for Christians, being a Christian should not be an outright blanket approval of anyone that says they are now Christ-like. Christians should still be discerning and question things because even the bible says the very elect, in the end times, shall be deceived. Being Christian doesn’t mean you check your thinking cap at the door.
Further, there is a pattern and practice of ‘Ye releasing albums that profess the name of Jesus but his actions are quite contrary to what is seen as Christ-like. Take, for example,’Ye’s freshman album ‘College Dropout.’ He had one of his biggest career singles titled ‘Jesus Walks’ where it was a full proclamation of his love and faith in Jesus, yet he went on to give us some of the most misogynistic, negative, mind bending music that continues to infiltrate the airwaves till date.
He has subsequently matched his misogynistic music history with audiovisuals and visuals that promoted a wife who he sexually objectified to the world. So, in fairness and objectivity, whether Christians or not, people should question whether in fact this is a true transformation, or just a promotion to tap into a more noticeable and rising gospel genre, Christian hip-hop.
Kanye, one could argue, is a marketing genius married to a fellow marketing genius Kim Kardashian, who is doing what he does best by staying on the pulse of the next big thing/movement and driving that change. Being Christian is cool again, from Chance the Rapper to many in pop culture making it cool. Kanye is just a few steps ahead with his new album ‘Jesus in King.’
Indeed, a recent article by Complex Magazine has the following title which lends to my point about his brilliance as a marketing genius: Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Primed for No. 1 Debut.
So, that’s my take on why people can and should fairly question him if they wish. Having said all the above, questioning if it is real is different from condemning or abusing him. The latter I definitely do not approve. He is entitled to his journey, wherever it leads him, like we all are.
I also really appreciate non-conformists, partly because my constitution is that way. I do think Kanye, independent of any religion he may have found, has always been emotionally immature and we will see that play out even with his new walk with Christ. Either way, he gets to make his own mistakes and walk his own walk like we all get to do.
My 50 Kobo/2 cents for all it is worth.
Photo: Screen capture Beats 1 Music Interview
- AML 137: Meet Leyla Konjo, Africa’s Music Industry Top Booking Agent (Interview)
- AML 136: Interview with Cherie Hu, Music Journalist
- AML 135: Artist Manager Bond Stanley Ebigbo on New Book, ‘Grounded Ways to the Music Business.’
- Kenya Music Industry Talks: Life After COVID, What do African Creatives Need to Weather the Impact?
- Nigerian Music Industry Talks: Opportunities for Young Lawyers in the Entertainment Industry