Kanye West sells 'Jesus Walks' socks on Easter Sunday
Has this hip-hop heavyweight gone too far with fashion?
Hip-hop star Kanye West was selling “Holy Spirit” hoodies and “Jesus Walks” socks at a service he led on Easter Sunday.
Held at the world-renowned Coachella Music Festival in California, West’s Sunday Service kicked off at 9am and included a live rendition of his 2004 hit Jesus Walks. Debated references to Jesus, God and spiritual stuff have peppered West’s music, including his controversial title for himself, “Yeezus” (an obvious nod to the divine man celebrated at Easter – and the title of his 2013 album).
The “messianic merch” scored stacks of pushback about charging so much for religious-themed attire.
At Coachella on Sunday, West was backed by a gospel choir and had a raft of artists join him, including Chance the Rapper. A professing Christian, Chance the Rapper managed to shout out “Please don’t forget about Christ” during his Ultralight Beam performance.
Limited edition merchandise is a thing West does for particular shows. While his “Church Clothes” range also was available from Sunday on his website, hundreds of punters lined up to check out West’s Sunday best.
Swiftly, West was mocked online for the exorbitant prices of his worship wardrobe. With sweatshirts at $225, t-shirts for $75 and socks for $50, the “messianic merch” scored stacks of pushback about charging so much for religious-themed attire. Still, they sold out at Coachella before West’s Sunday Service had finished.
Kaitlyn Tiffany at Vox pointed out a bigger issue than the prices: “As a lapsed suburban Methodist who completed at least 900 hours of Sunday school and Bible camp earlier in this life, I am obligated to point out that Jesus explicitly hated it when people attempted to use worship services as money-making opportunities.”
Tiffany noted how all four gospel in the New Testament offer accounts of the same story about Jesus flipping “over all the tables in rage” when he witnesses money lending and market stalls going on inside the temple in Jerusalem.
On the flip side, West’s market stall was not situated within a church building. Also, with “Trust God”, “Holy Spirit” and “Jesus Walks” emblazoned on clothing that have been broadcast around the world, could West have given Jesus some positive publicity on Easter Sunday?
Are West’s church clothes contained somewhere within this double-edged warning issued by early Christian leader Paul: “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:15-18).