HOUSTON (AP) — Rapper Kanye West told parishioners at Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch on Sunday that his recent spiritual awakening has made him realize he’s no longer in the service to fame and money but “in service to God.”
West spoke to a packed crowd of about 16,000 people at Lakewood Church’s 11 a.m. service during an interview with Osteen from the stage. West told the parishioners about his recent conversion to Christianity and how God has been guiding him.
“I know that God has been calling me for a long time and the devil has been distracting me for a long time,” West said. He added that at his lowest point, when he was hospitalized in 2016 after a “mental breakdown,” God “was there with me, sending me visions and inspiring me.”
Last month, West released “Jesus is King,” a Gospel-themed album that’s been described as Christian rap.
The rapper’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, and their daughter, North West, joined him at the church. They sat in the front row of the cavernous arena, the former Compaq Center, which was once the home of the Houston Rockets. Many of the parishioners seated around West took photos of him with their cellphones.
“This is like the Super Bowl today,” said Amy Holmes, who was visiting from New Orleans with her husband and decided to attend.
West also was scheduled to perform in the evening at Lakewood with his “Sunday Service,” a church-like concert featuring a choir. Tickets for the free concert were distributed through Ticketmaster and sold out within minutes Saturday, though some people have been reselling them for hundreds of dollars.
West has been traveling around the U.S. holding his “Sunday Service” concerts since January, including at the Coachella festival, an outdoor shopping center in Salt Lake City and at an Atlanta-area megachurch.
On Friday, he and his choir performed for inmates at the Harris County Jail in Houston.
During Sunday morning’s appearance, West touched on a variety of topics in what he called his “streams of consciousness,” including religion, the perils of fame and money, going to church as a child, strip clubs and the devil.
“The only superstar is Jesus,” West said as the crowd applauded loudly.
But West’s trademark boastfulness hasn’t completely disappeared.
“Now the greatest artist that God has every created is now working for him,” West said.
After the service, Osteen told reporters he was excited that West was “using his influence for the Lord.”
“We come from different backgrounds. Styles are different. But we’re still brothers in Christ. We’re all on the same team,” Osteen said.
Jose Gonzalez, a 25-year-old who attended the service, said he believes West’s religious conversion to be sincere.
“I don’t see why it would not be genuine. Especially with someone with his platform that talks about God and love and unity, it can get really shut down unfairly,” said Gonzalez.
When asked what advice he had for people, West told reporters, “Every single millisecond be in service to God.”
West and his wife are among the celebrities who have expressed support for Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed, who received an execution stay on Friday. Reed’s supporters said new evidence raises serious doubt about his guilt in a 1996 killing.
On Friday, Kim Kardashian West traveled to death row in Livingston, Texas, and visited Reed.
Lakewood Church, where more than 43,000 people attend services each week, has become the largest church in the U.S.
Osteen’s weekly television program is viewed by more than 13 million households in the U.S. and millions others in more than 100 nations around the world.
Behind the Scenes at The Willie Moore Jr. Show [PHOTOS]
1. The Manns1 of 62
2. Willie Moore with Evelyn Lozada and her daughter2 of 62
3. Mary Mary and Willie3 of 62
4. No Malice and Willie4 of 62
5. Willie and Jennifer Williams5 of 62
6. William Mcdowell6 of 62
7. The Hairstons7 of 62
8. Dr. Ian Smith with Willie Moore Jr.8 of 62
9. The Walls Group stopped by!9 of 62
10. Willie Moore with the "Growing up Hip-Hop" cast10 of 62
11. Willie Moore with the Ron Carter Academy11 of 62
12. Trina and Willie Moore12 of 62
13. Dick Gregory and Willie Moore Jr.13 of 62
14. Evander Holyfield and Willie Moore Jr.14 of 62
15. The Hairston's and Willie Moore15 of 62
16. Tim of Sweetie Pie's and Willie Moore Jr.16 of 62
17. Willie Moore Jr. and the Hudson brothers17 of 62
18. Tweet and Willie Moore Jr.18 of 62
19. Kim Fields and Willie snap a photo!19 of 62
20.20 of 62
21. Willie and Kirk Franklin21 of 62
22. Kirk and Willie battle in a test of who is taller!22 of 62
23. Anita Wilson and Willie Moore Jr.23 of 62
24. Marlon Jackson and Willie Moore Jr.24 of 62
25. Sheryl Lee Ralph and Willie25 of 62
26.26 of 62
27. Geoffrey Golden and Willie27 of 62
28. Marcus D. Wiley and Willie Moore Jr28 of 62
29. Anthony Brown and Willie29 of 62
30. Real Talk Kim and Willie Moore Jr.30 of 62
31. Willie Moore Jr. and Anthony Brown31 of 62
32. Lyfe Jennings and Willie Moore Jr.32 of 62
33. Willie and Vashawn Mitchell33 of 62
34. Aaron Cole and Willie Moore Jr.34 of 62
35. Alex Faith, Tim Bowman Jr. and Willie Moore Jr.35 of 62
36. Tim Bowman Jr. and Willie Moore Jr,36 of 62
37. Virtue stops by the studio!37 of 62
38. Erica Campbell with Willie's sons38 of 62
39. Erica Campbell and Willie39 of 62
40. Erica Campbell and Willie40 of 62
41. Erica Campbell with Willie's sons41 of 62
42. Demetria McKinney stops by.42 of 62
43. Tamar Braxton and Willie43 of 62
44. Bizzle and Willie snap a photo!44 of 62
45. Jonathan McReynolds performs in studio!45 of 62
46. Egypt Sherrod with Willie Moore Jr.46 of 62
47. Egypt Sherrod47 of 62
48. Egypt Sherrod with Willie Moore Jr.48 of 62
49. Willie and Kandi!49 of 62
50. Gail Devers50 of 62
51. Kandi Burruss51 of 62
52. Another snap of Willie Moore Jr. with gospel star Tasha Cobbs52 of 62
53. Willie and Kandi!53 of 62
54. Willie Moore Jr. snaps a photo with his wife and son54 of 62
55. Kandi Burruss55 of 62
56. Willie with gospel singer Canton Jones56 of 62
57. Willie Moore Jr. with gospel star Tasha Cobbs57 of 62
58. Willie Moore Jr. with his wife and sons Peyton and Princeton.58 of 62
59. Marvin Sapp in studio with Willie Moore Jr.59 of 62
60. Marvin Sapp and Willie Moore60 of 62
61. Willie Moore and Pastor Charles Jenkins61 of 62
62. Willie with Wess Morgan and Bishop Dale C. Bronner62 of 62
Kanye West To Joel Osteen: ‘I’m In Service To God Now” was originally published on blackamericaweb.com