There’s no doubt that faith has played a huge role in Kanye West’s life and music. He shot to megastardom with tracks like “Jesus Walks,” posed as the title prophet on the cover of Rolling Stone, and has even given himself his iconic Yeezus nickname. We all know about Ye’s tendency to talk about himself with an abundance of braggadocio, so fans were understandably skeptical when it was announced that he and wife Kim Kardashian would be starting a Sunday service in early 2019. The music star even spoke about the matter in an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians: “I had the idea of making a church before … and then 2019, I was like, ‘I’m not letting a Sunday go by without making this'” (via Insider). Indeed, West’s church services began — first in his home, and then slowly expanding around the U.S.
It makes sense for the “Stronger” rapper to start such an endeavor, considering mother-in-law Kris Jenner herself co-owns a church in California. The Kardashian-Jenners are ever-present at these events, too, with Kimmy K. acting as her husband’s PR rep on Twitter. Read on to find out the untold truth about the ultra-secret gatherings of Kanye West’s Sunday church services.
To orchestrate such elaborate weekly gatherings, Kanye West must have had some people helping him out, right? From the color-coordinated gospel choir to each service’s incredible location, there’s no way the Kardashian-Wests have been doing this all on their own. The rapper reportedly has two right-hand men who make sure everything runs according to plan, per GQ. Assistant Nico Ballesteros allegedly selects the location “one to three days before the service is done,” a student named Wilhens Norvil, who runs the unofficial Kanye Sunday Services Instagram account, claimed to the publication. “They don’t like to stay at the same place a lot, because people might figure where it is.” Sneaky.
Meanwhile, James Tyler Fazio is reportedly West’s go-to man for production and contacts. The social media manager even discussed the experience in a piece penned for LinkedIn, which is interesting considering all the attendees allegedly have to sign non-disclosure agreements (via Variety). “I found myself in Calabasas helping to produce this brand new experimental live music production/church service for the friends and family of Kanye West,” he wrote in part. “There were many nights we’d get notes, be up all night working to get the details right … just hoping and praying the show would go on. And it always did.” As Fazio noted, the services appear to run like a well-oiled machine — a testament to Ye’s loyal disciples.
Is West’s weekly service a church or a concert?
When you think of church services, religious sermons and readings probably come to mind. Well, Kanye West’s Sunday services don’t exactly have either. Instead, view the weekly event as a choir-inspired Yeezus show with some classic gospel tunes thrown into the mix. According to GQ, “The gospel choir sings for about sixty minutes,” making it “decidedly a concert — not the ‘new church’ people have speculated about.”
So, what sort of Yeezus songs are played? “According to attendees, West’s reinterpretation of his own music is meant to take on a spiritual essence — particularly songs like ‘Jesus Walks,’ ‘Lift Off,’ and ‘Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1,'” Variety reports, adding that attendees have called the performances “an expression of love.” Ye has apparently even changed some of his secular lyrics to connote spiritual meanings, which makes sense, considering some of his tunes are very NSFW.
Although these services mostly revolve around singing, West sometimes speaks in-between songs. As GQ notes, “This is more in keeping with the tradition of gospel choir concerts … than a sermon per se.” Tony Williams, Ye’s cousin, reiterated this in an Instagram Live video. “We don’t even pass a plate,” he explained, referring to the traditional collection of alms during Christian church services.
Kanye West’s Sunday church service means Yeezys for all!
There’s absolutely zero chance that anything Kanye West is involved in isn’t going to be fashion-oriented. The rapper is notorious for his fashion prowess, from his own Yeezy label to infamously throwing out most of his wife’s wardrobe and subsequently making her cry. A bit harsh, sure, but West is also known to spread the love when it comes to his sartorial swagger. According to Vogue, he decided to start an “incubator for young designers” in 2019 as a way to support “budding talent.” For our purposes, Ye has apparently generously donated items from his own collection to his Sunday service choir.
“All of the choir members wear a uniform … usually a garment that’s a merging between a t-shirt and a choir robe, plus Yeezy sneakers and trousers,” GQ reports, adding, “They’re given the clothing and shoes for free either a few days before or the day of. The outfit is usually white, but West pulls from the full Yeezy palette — he’s also done buttery beige, graphite, and black.” Are we even surprised?
There’s little doubt that Kim K. has followed her husband’s church service dress code along with everyone else. The only person who’s seemingly able to do their own thing? You’d think it’d be West, but it’s actually daughter North, who’s often adorably stood out while grooving to the tunes.
Each Sunday church service is an A-list playground
It wouldn’t be a Kardashian-West affair without, well, celebrities. They’re often dubbed “America’s Royal Family,” so anything in which Kim Kardashian is involved will ensure top publicity. So, how have they made something so private both coveted and buzzworthy? By ensuring sightings of Hollywood’s elite, of course.
According to The Cut, some famous faces who’ve attended West’s Sunday church services have included the likes of Kid Cudi, Diplo, Courtney Love, DMX, Kylie Jenner’s rapper beau Travis Scott, and of course, the rest of the KarJenner clan. Meanwhile, fellow E! star Busy Philipps has been known to drop by, along with Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry. Naturally, an air of exclusivity has floated around each Sunday service, as the event has remained invite-only. In addition to signing an NDA, Variety reports that all guests are prohibited to talking to the press about the event. One exception, however, is posting to Instagram — making the rest of us happy to catch at least a sliver of what exactly goes down at each hush-hush service.
Ye’s kiddos have turned out to be little musical prodigies
On an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian famously told daughter North why she and her husband are famous. “To get very technical … Daddy is a singer, performer, artiste,” the reality TV star told her first born, before adding, “Mummy has so many talents I can’t even begin to name them.” Well, thanks to Kanye West’s church services, it looks like little North and baby brother Saint have already begun following in their father’s footsteps!
Thanks to all the posts and videos that proud mom Kim has shared on social media, we’ve all had the chance to see the Kardashian-West kids participate in these weekly festivities — complete with singing and dancing. From totally slaying some dance moves to even performing with her dad, North has some serious star power. As for Saint? We assume the mentality is to start ’em young, as the tiny tot began singing in the children’s choir in June 2019. With big sis North protectively whispering the lyrics in his ear, Saint joined in on an adorable rendition of “Nothing Compares 2U” by Sinead O’Connor.
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