Jesus is King and Kanye’s a Fool
Kanye West has become Christianity’s town crier and just released an album (and IMAX movie) called Jesus is King to make it official. Months ago, he started doing Sunday Services, and people were gagging in glee because they were so touched that this man was loudly proclaiming his love for God in a public setting. It was like the Sunday Services somehow erased the foolishness he has been steeped in, within the last 3-5 years and ESPECIALLY within the last year.
I’m truly perplexed as to how so many people (who are smart and principled) are currently supporting Kanye, or asking for others to feel some sort of positive vibes towards him. All because he’s made Jesus his favorite hashtag.
First, let me remind people why there are so many of us who have put KanYe Omari West in the Land of Abandoned People. Here’s a list of some of the things Kanye has done and said (these aren’t rumors or hearsay but actual public things) in the last 2 years:
- Wear and sell merch with the Confederate flag
- Say slavery is a choice and that if the “net is cast, we should move”
- Tweet about Trump, his “brother”
- Visit the White House and Cheeto Satan
- Wear the red MAGA hat proudly
- And just 2 days ago, he said Black people are “culture-less”
Kanye has lost his rabid ass mind, so those of us who want to shun him from the cookout didn’t arrive to this place lightly. Because most of us were massive Ye fans. To see our dude devolve into this no-sense having MAGA robot in apocalyptic clothes is painful too. So when we say we ain’t buying the hype or them UGLASS Yeezy shoes or the Christianity Caricature Theater that is Sunday Services, folks act like we’re being too uppity. Talmbout “Aren’t we all sinners? Why can’t we forgive Kanye?”
FORGIVE KANYE FOR WHAT?!?! HE AIN’T SORRY ABOUT ANYTHING HE’S DONE. This is who he is now. We’re being nostalgic about 2006 Kanye so we’re allowing 2019 Kanye to be a total dumbass.
Before I wrote this piece, I went and read every single lyric in “Jesus is King” to make sure I didn’t miss some big apology that Kanye made for his pro-Trumpness, his recent anti-Blackness and his belligerent ignorance. Sure enough, there weren’t any mea culpas in there. So tell me. What are we forgiving Kanye for? What are we giving him grace for?
Is it because we’ve all agreed that he’s clearly suffering from some mental illness? Well, I will not stigmatize people who are bipolar by blaming that diagnosis for Kanye’s misdeeds. People have agency and Kanye is especially wealthy enough to have all the resources to be able to handle his well.
Is it because his mother died? Let’s let Donda rest, and not blame her death for the reason for her son acting out a WHOLE 12 years later. That Black woman did her job of raising him.
Is it because he’s married to Kim Kardashian? Well, we can’t blame her for this foolishness either, because she’s become the most reasonable person in this marriage, even engaging in prison reform activism. The world is truly topsy turvy when I have to give Kim props for ACTIVISM. *shudders*
So what are we coddling Kanye for?
Are we supposed to give grace to Kanye purely because of his Christianity Off-Broadway show and now terrible holy mixtape? Kanye’s getting all this credit for “bringing people to Christ” as if Kirk Franklin ain’t been Stomping for Jesus for 20 years! As if Yolanda Adams ain’t SANG US TO GLORY countless times. As if DMX didn’t spend the 90s accepting awards while barking prayers on grand stages! There are so many people who sing about Christ and who use their platform to amplify Mary and Joseph’s son. They were here before Kanye, and they’ll be here after Kanye decides he’s bored and on to the next thing.
Our ol’ easily impressed asses. The man is on some tour to clap off beat while wearing the clothes he imagines we’d wear when everything the book of Revelations predicts happens. Do we erase whatever harm is done by him being loudly pro-Habanero Hitler because of his weekly Apocalypse and Judgment Day Fall Collection Runway Show and some lyrically weak album?
I am a Christian, and I am clear that we are all messes. And I am clear that Jesus shoulda dropkicked us all off this planet by now. And I am clear that we all make mistakes. But mistakes are mistakes because we realize we shouldn’t have done or said the thing. At no point has Kanye said or shown that his deeds of the past were things he considers errors. At no point has he said “I wore the red hat of iniquity and I should not have.” All Kanye did was one day, start praising Jesus with hundreds of people around him.
So those who are like “who are we to judge?” That is a whole ass copout and you know it. Church folks be the most judgingest people. The argument of Kanye is now “born again so we need to let him be” would be valid if he demonstrated that he left the sins of the past in the past.
If the people he is bringing to Christ are watching his actions, their idea of Christianity gotta be skewed. If this ain’t the epitome of “beware of false prophets” I don’t know what is. This one with the last name of West is looking mighty shady. I’m just loving how some people are doing Simone Biles flips to justify their continued support of Kanye. Their backs gotta hurt from the matrix bend they’re doing to stand with Kanye. Like… ok.
bullshit fine if you have attended his church service and had a good time. But you’re not doing it because you’re some sort of forgiving saint who is more elevated than the rest of us. You did it because you wanted to revel in good music and good times. It’s okay. Leave the pretense, though. Kanye is (really, was. Because his recent music has been trash. I said what I said) a musical genius, and that is what most people can agree on, no matter how we feel about him today. However, let’s all not kid ourselves into thinking he has been transformed into some new being who is smarter or more discerning or more emotionally mature. He is just making good (that’s hella debatable) music that is churchy.
This is also why I fully understand people who frown on religion, because fanaticism is real, and we’re watching it in real time, as people worship at the Church of Ye, without question. Jesus was a refugee who shunned money, ate with the most marginalized and saw their humanity. He preached love in the visceral way of caring for your neighbor. If Kanye was that person, he’d live it, not just preach it. There are some non-believers who are more Christ-like than some staunch Christians.
Yes, his relationship with Jesus and the holy trinity is his. But he’s monetizing that relationship, even going as far as trying to trademark “Sunday Services.” So yes, we can look critically at this newfound fanaticism. Capitalism is a religion and money is a god too.
And then the straw argument that folks throw is “well I can support Kanye even though I disagree with him politically.” That’s weak. When your politics support a president who is openly racist, anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, pro-white nationalist then your politics are officially PERSONAL and really harmful.
We ain’t cool, no matter how much you sing about Jesus.
Kanye: Your mama is a baldheaded scallywag with lice and a titanium beard and she is trash.
People: YOOOO Kanye is out of control and we must not support him.
Kanye *3 months later*: Your mama is scum. But I love Jesus.*sings off key* I LOVE JESUS SO MUCH. Your mama is still not a whole human. But Jesus!!!!!! Yayyyyy Jesus!
People: Wow, y’all. Kanye found Jesus. Let us embrace our brother in Christ. Don’t judge him.
So we can say wildly inappropriate and harmful shit unapologetically, be a fan of the man who literally has babies in cages and thinks anyone who isn’t white is an animal. But as long as we sing about Jesus, we are okay. Got it.
Lemme tell Chrisette Michele to drop a gospel album so people can finally forgive her for that one time she sang at the Trump inauguration. People have sworn her, her future kids and their play cousins off. Apparently, all she had to do was say “Jesus” three times on a record and redemption will appear for her like Beetlejuice. Except not, because she’s a Black woman and that ain’t how any of this works for us but that’s another piece for another day.
We can hope for redemption for North’s Daddy (I’m still rooting for him that he wakes up one day and goes “I’m sorry for the last 5 years.”). But don’t write off people who are giving Kanye epic side-eye as haters or people who are looking to be upset. There is a long line of people who have used God’s name to gain favor without doing real work.
Grace is necessary in life and redemption is possible. Grace isn’t earned, since it’s mostly a gift, so we can give him some, but not enough to excuse all of this. And redemption happens when people take a journey of transformation. But the only transformation from Kim’s husband has been a descent into senselessness When Donald Trump Jr., the Ghost of Racist and Dimwitted Present cosigns your album, you might wanna start over.
I’m sick of Kanye’s foolishness and until he gets it together, there’s no amount of autotuning for Jesus that will make his actions okay.