Does Kanye West think he is God on earth? The biggest ego in show business has been cosying up to the ultimate Higher Power, writes Janet Street-Porter
Does Kanye West think he is God on earth? The biggest ego in show business has been cosying up to the ultimate Higher Power.
His new album Jesus is King is just 27 minutes long and is dividing the critics. Is it brilliant or blasphemous?
This genius marketeer uses his Christian faith to craft a collection of songs that claim to glorify God in an ‘expression’ of the gospel.
It’s completely profanity free, a far cry from the kind of stuff that’s sold over 140 million of his records since 2004.
Kanye (who now wants to be known as Ye) has denounced rap music and claims to speak from the heart, but reviews of his hip hop gospel work have been mixed, some describing the album as ‘lyrically lazy’.
Fans disagree – producer Warryn Campbell says it’s hypocritical to judge Kanye (or anyone) for ‘trying to grow his faith and his commitment to God…he is completely sincere’.
If Kanye claims to be a messenger from God, preaching family values, love and togetherness, should we be cynical?
Is selling stuff called ‘church clothes’- sweat shirts costing $250 with images of Jesus on them and $20 socks emblazoned with ‘Jesus Walks’ – the work of a true believer?
Kanye West performs Sunday Service during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019
Is this enterprise all about the glorification of God or the enrichment and glorification of Kanye West?
After all, humility is a big part of the Christian message and West once told an interviewer ‘I’m unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time…this is not even a question any more’.
This artist divides opinion like no other and is frequently listed as one of the most dislikeable people in the entertainment industry. He’s said he can be an architect, product designer, whatever he wants.
Which begs the question, is KW a bit of an idiot or an inspirational genius?
Are his fans brain-washed zombies who will buy into any message their leader spouts?
Is it racist to criticise a black icon because he is crass and sometimes oafish?
Pictured, Kayne West with wife Kim Kardashian West at the FGI Night of the Stars Gala in New York on October 24 this year
West has never shied away from controversy. At a benefit concert after Hurricane Katrina, he announced ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’.
This week he said that black people have been ‘brainwashed’ by Democrats who have ‘tricked’ them into supporting pro-abortion policies.
He recently confused taking the morning-after pill with having an abortion, prompting the comment ‘black women can make their own choices about their bodies’.
He also seemed to imply that 400 years of slavery was a ‘choice’ for black Americans, although he’s since apologised and says he was misunderstood.
West’s behaviour in public has sometimes verged on the infantile and boorish – a low point occurred in 2009 when he took to the stage as Taylor Swift was accepting an industry award, grabbing the microphone and announcing that it should have gone to Beyonce.
When West returned to work, it was to focus on promoting his faith. He started Sunday services for invited guests and celebrities at his estate in California last January, taking the lead with a large choir, writes Janet Street-Porter
In 2004 he stormed out of the American Music Awards when he didn’t win Best New Artist.
In 2016, his behaviour seemed increasingly erratic – and after cancelling concerts he spent time in hospital, apparently for a breakdown.
Then he came off social media for 11 months. He’s since been diagosed with bipolar disorder, which he calls ‘a superpower’.
When West returned to work, it was to focus on promoting his faith. He started Sunday services for invited guests and celebrities at his estate in California last January, taking the lead with a large choir.
There’s no sermons, just singing. Recently, he’s been staging public ‘services’ at Coachella and at other venues in California and New York, in the run up to the album’s release.
Kanye West has seen his fortunes rise and fall, in spite of selling millions of records. By 2016 he was $53 million in debt and asked Mark Zuckerberg to bail him him out. The tech billionaire refused, says Janet Street-Porter
There’s also a 30 minute IMAX documentary shot inside a James Tyrell art work in the Arizona desert, directed by Vogue photographer Nick Knight.
West can be a braggard and a bore, but surely he’s no worse than the luxury designers Dolce and Gabbana, who’ve mined the Catholic Church for inspiration every season for years to flog expensive frocks to women who have no creed other than high end shopping.
Madonna pimped off the Catholic church whenever her career needed a spot of controversy, combining bondage, fetishistic clothing and a spot of Mass as props in most of her stadium tours.
Recently, NY designer MSCHF created ‘Holy Water’ trainers, using repurposed Nike Air Max ’97s, with soles they filled with ‘holy’ water from the Jordan River blessed by a priest.
The shoes sported a cruxifix emblem on the laces, with a fake Papal Seal on the box.
The edition sold out in minutes at $1,400 a pair and is currently being offered for resale at $3,000. The collaboration was nothing to do with Nike but tapped into the current fashion for biblical references.
Surely the main reason most whingeing liberals hate West is because of his professed support for Donald Trump, writes Janet Street-Porter
Surely the main reason most whingeing liberals hate West is because of his professed support for Donald Trump.
Perhaps they feel more comfortable when rich black people support right-on politicians from the left – ie Democrats.
Worse, the new album has received fulsome praise from none other that Donald Trump jnr, who calls West a ‘pioneer who’s cracking the culture code’ and the album ‘the epitome of fearless creativity’.
Trump Junior is hardly a barometer of avant garde culture, after all.
Kanye West has seen his fortunes rise and fall, in spite of selling millions of records. By 2016 he was $53 million in debt and asked Mark Zuckerberg to bail him him out. The tech billionaire refused.
He’s been saved by his clothing company Yeezy’s deal with Adidas, expected to earn over $1.5 billion in sales in 2019.
West managed to negotiate a whopping 15% royalty on the price of his Adidas trainers – while other stars only get around 5%. His first design retailed at $350 and sold out within 10 minutes.
In spite of being pilloried for his lack of subtlety and his clothing described as naff, West has managed to turn near bankruptcy into mountains of cash.
John Legend says the singer has ‘made it OK to talk about your faith’.
West is an enigma, a narcissistic monster. Whether he’s espousing true Christian values is pretty debatable – but at least he’s managed to rebrand religion as something hot and fashionable.
The feeble, well-meaning but ineffectual Archibishop of Canterbury needs to take few lessons in presentation and marketing from Mr West.