Mogul motives for church are ‘sincere,’ a source insisted, not about promoting his brand
Ever since Kanye West started hosting his so-called Sunday Services earlier this year, people have been wondering what he’s up to.
West’s Sunday Services have consisted of outdoor, gospel-themed performances of his own music in the hills near his home outside Los Angeles. They have been invitation only, with celebrities such as Katy Perry and Kid Cudi turning up to watch or perform. But West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, has been more than happy to share snippets of the mini-concerts with the masses, via Instagram posts that often feature daughter North West dancing.
So has the rapper and designer been using his Sunday Services to launch a new album? Or is he hoping to sell a new line of Yeezy active wear, using his choir members as models?
Maybe the Donald Trump-friendly West is looking to launch his long-threatened political career, or perhaps he has come up with a new type of social media influencer campaign to join the Kardashian family’s constellation of money-making ventures.
And, yes, people have wondered if West wants to start his own church.
It turns out that, yes, West probably wants to start his own church, according to People. The 41-year-old musician’s religious ambitions have been bolstered by the success of his Sunday Service performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday. West’s Easter show at the second weekend of Coachella reportedly drew crowds of 50,000 or more, “inspiring West to consider a more permanent spiritual path,” People said.
“He is extremely passionate about his faith and wants to share it more regularly with people,” a source close to West told People. “He spends a lot of time studying and praying, and wants to share his journey.”
The source insisted to People that West’s motives are “completely sincere.”
“Say what you want about Kanye, but he really does want to help people who need support,” the source added. “He understands brokenness and the need for healing, probably more than most people. He believes in the healing powers of music, but also believes that God can step in and heal people’s brokenness and their issues.”
The source said that West’s idea of a church wouldn’t be “the traditional 3-hymns-and-a-sermon thing.”
West’s church would instead point people to Jesus “through the arts and through a community of people who love and care for each other,” the source said. West also reportedly has been using his Sunday Service to share his faith with his children, including with North, 5.
Of course, don’t discount other possible motives for West going on this spiritual journey, including using his church as a platform to promote other West- or Kardashian-related projects. Indeed, West was called out by critics for selling high-priced church merch during Sunday’s performance, including $50 socks, $165 sweatpants and $225 “Holy Spirit” sweatshirts.
Among the critics was Sharon Osbourne, co-host of “The Talk” and wife of Ozzy Osbourne. On “The Talk,” she opined: “I don’t think the church has anything to do with his merch, and what church, the Church of Kanye?”
Yes, it looks like there could be a Church of Kanye.
But West could get advice for launching his own church from his mother-in-law, reality TV mogul Kris Jenner, who has some experience in such ventures. She founded the California Community Church in 2009 and promoted it on an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” The Guardian reported.
This church has operated out of a “moveable feast” of venues, including hotel banquet rooms in the Los Angeles area, the Guardian added. It costs congregants about $1,000 a month, or up to 10 percent of their incomes, to participate.
It’s also easy to imagine West’s church becoming the latest megachurch to build a star-studded congregation, similar to Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s beloved Hillsong church. People reported that West’s Easter crowd included various celebrities, including Chance The Rapper, Donald Glover, the Kardashian sisters — Khloe and Kourtney, plus Kendall and Kylie Jenner — and Kylie Jenner’s boyfriend, rapper Travis Scott.
But again, people from West’s camp insist he’s not interested in enhancing his brand or somehow cashing in by celebrating a more spiritual path.
Kim Kardashian praised her husband’s good intentions in an interview with Elle earlier this month.
“It’s honestly more like a healing experience for my husband,” Kardashian said. “It’s just music; there’s no sermon. It’s definitely something he believes in — Jesus — and there’s a Christian vibe. But there’s no preaching. It’s just a very spiritual Christian experience.”