Kanye gets people talking about life
Entertainment | The rapper’s struggles with mental health don’t negate his Christian message
by Collin Garbarino
Posted 9/08/20, 05:59 pm
Hip-hop mogul and serial entrepreneur Kanye West has a new album dropping soon, a recently inked 10-year clothing deal with Gap, and a traveling gospel choir. He is also running for president of the United States with a Christian pro-life message.
West began speaking publicly about his conversion to Christianity in 2019. He previously declared his support for President Donald Trump, but in July of this year he announced his third-party run for the White House even though the deadlines had passed for declaring his candidacy in many states. Over the past two months, he spent $7 million of his own money on his campaign and managed to get on the ballot in at least 11 states, including Mississippi, where election officials approved him on Tuesday. It’s not enough for even a small chance of winning, but that didn’t seem to bother him as he talked with fellow rapper Nick Cannon on the Cannon’s Class podcast on Sept. 1. The two discussed West’s billionaire status, his unorthodox presidential bid, and his outspoken faith in God. “There has to just be God and man, and you can’t serve two masters,” West said. “So, who are you working for?”
West, who has long had a reputation as a provocateur, complained society doesn’t want to see someone, especially an African American man, achieve success outside traditional mores. He claimed that attitude kept Forbes from recognizing he was a billionaire for years and stopped people from taking his political aspirations seriously.
Among his goals, West said he wants to shift America’s political discourse to make more room for God. He promotes just one discernable policy initiative: advancing the pro-life cause from a Biblical perspective. He told Cannon he named his political party the Birthday Party because when he wins it will feel like it’s everyone’s birthday and because his pro-life message will help many children reach their first birthdays.
West devoted much of his first campaign rally in South Carolina to promoting life. He broke down in tears as he described how he and his wife almost aborted their first child. He continued to cry as he related that his father had counseled his mother to get an abortion. Later he explained he wouldn’t outlaw abortions but would give every mother a million dollars. He also ruffled feathers with a controversial statement claiming Harriet Tubman “never freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people.”
Many of West’s followers applauded his transparency, and some responded to his tweets with their own stories of choosing life. But other social media users mocked him and said men should not speak out about abortion.
Yet after the rally, West posted a tweetstorm claiming his family was trying to lock him up and claiming the horror film Get Out was about him, before deleting the tweets. Major news outlets rushed to point out that West struggles with mental illness. He has talked openly in the past about his diagnosis with bipolar disorder, and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, made a statement asking the public to have grace for West because of his health.
Before July, the media viewed West’s controversial go-my-own-way approach as part of his brand, but after his rally in South Carolina, the press believed that only mental illness could explain why a savvy businessman would deliver an emotional pro-life speech.
West responded to his critics, tweeting, “I cried at the thought of aborting my firstborn and everyone was so concerned about me. … I’m concerned for the world that feels you shouldn’t cry about this subject.”
He called the abortion industry “black genocide” and explained how Planned Parenthood targets minority communities. When Cannon asked West what gave him the right to say those things, he responded, “I have to go to the Word. God says He knew you before you were in the womb.”
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Collin is a correspondent and movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Lousiana State University graduate, and he teaches at Houston Baptist University. Collin resides with his wife and four children in Sugar Land, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @collingarbarino.