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A raw and wounded soul

Kanye West needs our prayers more than our Instagram attention

Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2020. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press, File

A raw and wounded soul

“It’s amazing what the stakes are when a very famous person decides to speak his mind.” Those words, spoken by Tucker Carlson to introduce a viral segment of Fox News with Kanye West (who now prefers to be known as Ye), are very true. Immediately after the segment aired, news outlets everywhere were dissecting Ye’s words on everything from fashion celeb gossip to Jared Kushner to abortion.

The latter particularly caused a stir, as Kanye sported a pro-life lanyard he designed himself. He had also worn it during his just-concluded fashion show in Paris. When Carlson asked him to explain it, Ye identified the blurry black-and-white image as an ultrasound. Citing the statistics on black abortion, Kanye said he didn’t care about what people thought of him, because he performs “for an audience of one, and that’s God.”

Kanye likewise didn’t care about the backlash to his new line of “White Lives Matter” wear, which for him simply states an “obvious thing.” He refuses to affirm the creed of BLM merely because white liberals expect him to. Not only does he believe the white liberal establishment has manipulated the black community into a political corner, he believes they actually want all black people “dead”—babies and vulnerable adults included. Now, he is signaling that he will no longer allow them to control his narrative. Of course, his own celebrity family has fractured in the process, which has only deepened his anger.

And now, with the Fox News segment still hot off the presses, Ye is at the center of yet another social media firestorm, as Twitter and Instagram have separately locked him out of his accounts for anti-Semitic posts. On Twitter, he announced his plans to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE [sic],” preemptively explaining that he can’t be anti-Semitic because “black people are actually Jew also.” This appears to signal alignment with the Black Hebrew Israelite cult, which claims Abrahamic heritage. We must state clearly that any language that invokes anti-semitism or incites violence is appalling and condemnable.

All this behavior raises some natural questions: Who is counseling Ye? Who is pastoring him? Is anyone pastoring him?

In another intro segment, Tucker Carlson approvingly referred to the “intense” disruptive power of “a man channeling his rawest emotions onto Instagram.” Kanye’s stated thoughts are certainly nothing if not “raw.” And to the extent that he has used his platform to promote life and direct glory to God, he’s been disruptive in the best way. His bold pro-life fashion statement might legitimately reach hearts and minds, for which we can be thankful as pro-life Christians. Yet even his pro-life ideas seem to be strangely bound up with a much murkier web of conspiracy theories—conspiracies where black people are the target of a systematic elimination plot, and the evil “establishment” can become nastily co-identical with the Jewish people.

There’s a certain electric thrill we get from seeing an established pop culture icon speak truthfully about unborn life.

His rather confused personal faith seems no less sincere than his convictions on life. And yet, mixed in with his desire to serve God is still a desire to serve Ye. The Tucker Carlson interview was a muddle of lucid moments and long tangents in which Ye took shots at celebrities who had insulted him, cut in on his business, or disappointed him in some way.

Some of his anger is understandable, both as a black man struggling to find his identity and as a husband and father struggling with the burden of overwhelming fame. But he still comes across as a wounded soul who lacks the discernment to channel his anger wisely and purposefully. And when he floats a 2024 presidential run, he sounds downright delusional.

Still, those lucid moments are so lucid that it’s easy to see why he is the center of so much attention, including attention from Christians. There’s a certain electric thrill we get from seeing an established pop culture icon speak truthfully about unborn life. Maybe our faithful local pastor also says these things, and that’s cool. It’s just not as much fun to talk about on Twitter.

But in their eagerness to hold up Kanye as a role model, Christians must not make the same mistake as everyone else who wants a piece of Kanye. Yes, he has shown a commendable willingness to speak some bold truths in the public square. At the same time, recognize that this is still a troubled man whose family has disintegrated under the world’s harshest spotlight.

Contrary to what he might believe about himself, it is not at all clear that God intends for Kanye to remain in that spotlight. What is clear is that he needs wise guidance and genuine Christian influence to navigate what lies ahead, from mature and sincere men who will love him for more than his public image.

So, instead of putting Kanye on a pedestal that can’t sustain him, let’s instead pray, for his own sake, that this kind of help is exactly what he finds.

Bethel McGrew

Bethel McGrew is a math Ph.D. and widely published freelance writer. Her work has appeared in First Things, National Review, The Spectator, and many other national and international outlets. Her Substack, Further Up, is one of the top paid newsletters in “Faith & Spirituality” on the platform. She has also contributed to two essay anthologies on Jordan Peterson. When not writing social criticism, she enjoys writing about literature, film, music, and history.


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