Kanye West’s Sunday services have continued to go full-steam ahead since wife Kim Kardashian gave fans a glimpse of the first one in January. Now, reports have emerged that the rapper is transforming his exclusive, yet headline-making Sunday services into a profit-making effort. The reports follow longtime gospel sensation Kirk Franklin and one half of the gospel duo Mary Mary, “Get Up” host Erica Campbell, chatting with Atlanta Black Star during a recent press run.
Since January, West has hosted several more Sunday services throughout the spring — he even brought it to Coachella on Easter Sunday in April. Frequently, leaked photos and videos of the events have shown an emotional Ye seemingly caught up in the Holy Spirit as well as his and Kardashian’s daughter North West feeling the spirit.
While fans initially didn’t know what to make of it, prominent members of the gospel community have since weighed in.
Speaking to ABS in April, Franklin and Campbell shared their thoughts on the likes of West and other secular artists making the jump from rap/hip-hop and R&B and into the music of the church.
“I’m excited for any human being that is finding the medicine that lies within the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Franklin says. “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.”
Campbell noted that there must be something moving within an artist’s spirit for someone as successful as West — who counts five multi-platinum albums in his discography — to make the shift.
“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,” Campbell explains. “Unfortunately, some people feel like we’re an exclusive club and if your life is not pristine, don’t do it, [but] if your life’s supposed to be pristine then would not one of us be singing.
“Let them start where they start and let God do the work,” she adds. “You can’t sing about Jesus too long without him changing you. … Let ’em all do records! [Lady] Gaga, all y’all! Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj — do a gospel records! Keep singing about Jesus, because when you call him, he answers.”
As West, who previously released the gospel-tinged effort “Life of Pablo,” continues to host the private Sunday service events, news has emerged that he’s preparing to share the experience with the wider public with an album and documentary.
A source involved with the E! reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” revealed the rumored plans to Radar Online Thursday, May 23.
“Kanye knows that the gospel music, as well as the footage that has been shot during these sermons, are of great interest,” the insider claimed. “He has already started working on a documentary and will be putting the best music together for a CD. Both of these items will obviously be for sale to the public!”
Still, while gospel performers like Franklin and Campbell embrace West’s musical shift, some have not been pleased by how West and Kardashian have been taking advantage of the new platform.
“Kanye and Kim really believe they are religious leaders now,” the source alleged to Radar. “But he is going too far now that he is cashing in on God.”
Absent from Twitter since January, West has not commented on the rumored CD and doc.