It’s been difficult not to take note of the phenomenon attendant to uber-star rap artist Kanye West having recently converted to Christianity and the energetic manner in which he has been proclaiming Jesus Christ. Earlier this year, West began delivering sermons in venues as disparate as upscale West Coast churches and prisons. While his newest album, “Jesus is King,” sounds a little like a musical run-on sentence, it is reportedly doing pretty well in terms of sales.
This wouldn’t be the first time a successful entertainer converted to Christianity seemingly out of the blue, but the current political climate combined with West’s ethnicity and his public actions to date make for a much more compelling story.
Whatever one thinks of West’s music, it can be said that he has managed his career fairly well. Having come on the scene in the early 2000s, the fact that he’s still around after nearly 20 years in the music industry is noteworthy. West has a massive and faithful following that has thus far tolerated such things as the artist acting out in drunken belligerence at award shows and even his voicing approval for President Donald Trump. His marriage to the also wildly famous pop-culture personality Kim Kardashian alone is likely to keep him on the lips of the press and the public for a long time to come, regardless of what he does.
In the past, West’s off-the-cuff political commentary has smacked of liberal racialist orthodoxy and ignorance. In 2005, he castigated then-President George W. Bush for inaction and cavalier deportment in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, charging that Bush didn’t care about the plight of New Orleans’ blacks. His tone has softened in recent years, however, and his dismissal of those who criticized him for fraternizing with President Trump was surprising to many.
So now he’s found Jesus. It’s not my place to evaluate West’s faith; if it’s genuine, that’s great. If he brings more people to faith, even better. If it isn’t genuine, or if it winds up being a passing phase for the artist, he won’t be the first to have gone this route.
One can almost hear certain parties holding their collective breath in anticipation of where Kanye West’s mission will actually lead him, and this includes everyone from fans to admirers to outright detractors.
Obviously, Bible-believing Christians would be ecstatic if West touched off a popular revival, but I’m sure many suspect that West’s brand of Christianity may prove to be no more potent than that of many people who proclaim Christ, but who have very little to say on issues such as the sanctity of life or the civil rights of Christians in America. Sure, West is evangelizing like crazy, but is his Christianity Bible-based, or has it been corrupted by apostasies like Social Justice and Liberation Theology?
Leaving aside these questions for a moment, let’s consider the greater significance of an artist of West’s popularity proudly proclaiming his faith and evangelizing with such vigor, and further, what his actions may portend for his career.
Having managed to sustain his career for quite some time, obviously West has amassed a great deal of wealth. Unless he decided to commence with a crack binge to end all crack binges, his great-grandchildren will probably be set for life financially whether or not he ever releases another album. His star power could certainly carry him for quite a while even if his fans ultimately reject his change of musical genre – but we can’t forget the industry to which he owes his success to date.
The liberal elites in the entertainment industry may be able to countenance someone like Kanye West proclaiming Christ within certain parameters, and their racism has historically allowed for blacks’ demonstrative demonstrations of faith, as long as they don’t do anything like establishing national civil rights movements or aligning with white conservative Christians.
If we factor in how closely aligned those entertainment industry power players are with heavy-hitters on the political left, however, West’s actions appear even more audacious. Considering this, his faith and his support for President Trump become even more suspect in the eyes of these agencies.
Remember M.C. Hammer, the hip-hop artist who was wildly popular from the late-1980s through the 1990s? While Hammer did become known for having frittered his money away like so many megastars, this isn’t the only reason he did not enjoy longevity in the music business. With his 1991 album, “Too Legit to Quit,” Hammer (born Stanley Kirk Burrell in 1962) began to evangelize black Americans with socially responsible messages such as maintaining intact, two-parent families and pursuing education.
Hammer’s career began to tank immediately, and his efforts to reinvent himself as a gangsta rapper (which simply could not be taken seriously) sealed his fate. His 1994 album, “The Funky Headhunter,” was his last album for a major record label.
The fact is that those captaining the industry in which Kanye realized such success have no interest whatsoever in successful black artists promoting socially responsible messages to blacks or anyone else, particularly at a time when black support for a sitting Republican president whom they despise has quadrupled. Suffice it to say they most definitely do not want such a person touring the country with the message that blacks should not vote for Democrats.
At this point, I’d advise Mr. West to develop the habit of checking underneath his car before heading to the studio. Should they happen to find his Lamborghini ablaze and wrapped around a tree with his charred carcass inside anytime soon, the authorities would be wise to check more than his blood alcohol level.
Article posted with permission from Erik Rush
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