Kanye to keep church in Kingston tomorrow
On Friday, US rapper Kanye West brings his much-talked-about religious event Sunday Service to Emancipation Park in Jamaica, complete with his 120-voice choir and 15-member band.
But amid the high anticipation, some members of the clergy are advising "an abundance of caution," and calling for prayer warriors to swing into action.
Pastor Stephen Blake, of Acts of the Holy Spirit Ministries International, told THE STAR: "I don't know him (Kanye) as a Christian and someone who is being led by the Holy Spirit. We have to examine the motive here."
Blake, recently baptised as 'Pastor of the Dancehall' by selector Boom Boom , is planning to take a team to pray over the grounds of the venue and also for the multitudes who he expects to turn out for the event. That is scheduled for 6 p.m., with Sunday Service scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
"From a spiritual perspective, I am not 100 per cent comfortable. Therefore, I am calling for the church to pray against this, just in case there is anything negative associated with this service that Kanye is coming to Jamaica to keep. All churches are being invited to send their prayer warriors to meet me and my team," he said.
The clergyman said that many vulnerable youths will be in attendance and they need to hear the right message.
"Kanye knows that people are gullible and he is now using religion to captivate them. Some say that he is the Antichrist, but nothing like that. He is just a regular man seeking to stay in the limelight. Him go mad one day, then him say Trump the next day, and then him come with religion. If his motive is to get attention and stay relevant, then that is wrong," he said.
Father Sean Major-Campbell, rector of Christ Church, Vineyard Town, pointed out that West's actions aren't unique.
"There is nothing new about individuals from showbiz getting on a religious high after the euphoria of conversion. It is quite understandable that an encounter, or newfound relationship with God may inspire much zeal with a quest to share. An abundance of caution is, however, advisable where requisite knowledge and pastoral sensitivity are lacking. Zeal without knowledge can be a dangerous thing," he said. "I am not sure that this would have any particular implications for Christendom outside of providing a passing entertainment option."
Meanwhile, veteran dancehall producer and noted atheist Cordel 'Skatta' Burrell says he believes the negative repercussions of the show will far outweigh the positives.
"On a busy day like Friday when people really need to go about their business, we're gonna move heaven and earth to facilitate this venture but that is Jamaica for you. I don't see what it will do for tourism and I am yet to see the blessings overflowing from a mass gathering of people singing and praying," he said. "But, the Government seems to be making every effort to facilitate whatever amount of security persons they will need on the ground to make traffic flow or stop traffic and hold up working class people heading home on a Friday just to facilitate this guy's thing."
Burrell said that he was not surprised that West sought to get some form of religious validation from Jamaicans.
"His Jesus agenda is solely for the benefit of generating sales for his upcoming gospel album and he's only playing chess," he said. "When Kanye do him thing and pack up and leave, we will sit and wait for the blessings that were requested and prayed for and asked for by the congregation."
And he suggested Jamaicans will be waiting in vain, "while we will feel the repercussions of slowing down an entire day".
"I for one will be avoiding Emancipation Park and I have New Kingston police on speed dial because if the the rejoicing start to disturb me, I will be ensuring the Noise Abatement Act is fully enforced," he continued.
West previously performed in Jamaica at Reggae Sumfest in 2004.