Kanye West has been known to perform in a variety of America’s most prestigious venues, from Radio City Music Hall to the Coachella festival. This weekend however, the rapper performed for a different audience, young students at an evangelical Christian Bible conference in Tennessee.
What We Know:
- West headlined at the Strength To Stand conference with his Sunday Service Choir, sharing his testimony of faith with about 17,000 attendees at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge on Sunday.
— Madisen Keavy (@madisenkeavy) January 19, 2020
- The primary goal of the Strength To Stand conference was to bring together students ranging from sixth grade to college who come from various churches in the Great Smoky Mountains region. Scott Dawson, a Republican who ran an unsuccessful bid to become Alabama’s governor in 2018, was the mastermind behind the event.
- This performance was the rapper’s most recent attempt to break into the world of American evangelical Christianity. West has said that he received visions about starting a church near his home in California while he was hospitalized for mental health treatment in 2016.
- He released two gospel albums last year, most recently Jesus Is King, that focused exclusively on Christian themes. He also debuted two Christian operas and spoke at evangelist Joel Osteen’s church, the largest in America.
West’s new public image as an evangelist has caused a great deal of disquiet in Christians. Most notably on the remark he’s made before about slavery being a choice and his support for President Donald Trump. Yet many evangelical leaders appear to have embraced his story regardless.