Kanye West is under heat for headlining an evangelical Christian rally known as Awaken 2020, alongside controversial anti-LGBTQ religious leaders. The free, 10-hour-long gathering was billed as the “first epic evangelical stadium event of the decade.” (Which is, in a literal sense, not an outstanding achievement.)
West brought his signature Sunday Service series to the event, which took place at Sun Devil Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona on January 18th. West led Sunday Service with selects from his gospel record, but he also featured music from The Life of Pablo with “Ultralight Beam” and “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1.”
Though West didn’t speak out against the LGBTQ community directly, there were other speakers present who had previously voiced their strong anti-LGBTQ views, some even in support of laws against homosexuality. To the LGBTQ community, West was and remains guilty by association — a point of view best described here.
It should be noted, one speaker by the name of Lou Engle was removed from the Awaken 2020 lineup following public outcry over his anti-LGBTQ beliefs. A statement was made, signed by organizer David Herzog, addressing the backlash:
Awaken 2020 invited Kanye West to headline our Awaken 2020 event because we believe God has given Kanye a powerful platform to share his personal testimony with the world and to showcase the love, grace, and redeeming power of God by lifting up the name of Jesus.
Like Kanye, Awaken 2020 has no place for affiliation of hate or harm toward any other person… If any of our past potential or current event participants, speakers, and collaborators were affiliated with any such harmful platforms in any way or at any time, we do not support any view points as such.
West released his gospel album, Jesus is King in October 2019.