celebrity

A-list disciples and official merch: Inside the Church of Kanye West.

It seems Kanye West has recruited another big name to his church.

On Sunday, Brad Pitt made a surprise appearance at West’s Sunday Service, held in Watts, California. According to TMZ, it’s the second time he has supported the rapper by attending.

 

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Brad Pitt at KSS Cc @teamkanyedaily

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West held the first of the evangelical events – where he preaches in front of a choir performing gospel music, R&B covers and highlights from his own back catalogue – back in January, and has since played host to celebs including Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Courteney Love.

He opened the services up to the public for the first time on Easter Sunday when he famously performed at Coachella.

If you’ll recall, it looked a little…culty:

Kanye Coachella
Kanye does Coachella. Image: Instagram.
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The whole Karashian clan was in attendance wearing their Sunday best of matching Yeezy-brand utilitarian tracksuits. There was even merch sold at the festival under a tent labelled "Church Clothes," emblazoned with slogans like "HOLY SPIRIT" and "JESUS WALKS" on a pair of socks.

 

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In Kim's words, Kanye "had this vision of starting a church for few years and it was magical seeing everyone else get to experience it." For a man with a song called I AM A GOD, this was, we guess, a natural next step.

And Pitt is by far his most well-known disciple.

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It's all the more intriguing given the actor's current blockbuster, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is about a pseudo-religious cult based in Hollywood - albeit one that wasn't quite so wholesome.

It's certainly not the first time tinseltown has buzzed with a sense ~spiritual awakening~.

In the early 2000s, multiple big-name celebrities - Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Lindsay Lohan included - became enamoured with Kabbalah, a sect of jewish mysticism that promotes spiritual and personal growth. Many were spotted practising at California Kabbalah Centres and wearing their signature red string bracelets.

And then there's Scientology, which still has its power acolytes.

Sunday Service is non-denominational, but West has long been a proud and practising Christian. It's believed his forthcoming album Jesus Is King, which had its title and tracklist leaked by wife Kim last week, will be a gospel-inspired work.

 

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All this begs the question - we know West & Co can sell shoes, and certainly records...but can they sell faith?

And is this all some masterful rebranding exercise, with redemption in the eyes of the public as important as the spiritual kind?

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It seems to be working for Justin Bieber - another Sunday Service regular.

Bieber and his wife Hailey are devoted evangelical Christians, notably associated with Pentacostal super-church Hillsong (The Biebs even jetted into Sydney in 2017 to attend the global conference.)

Back in 2014, after a well-documented fall from grace, Bieber found a mentor in Carl Lentz, the hipster pastor of Hillsong New York. Lentz baptized Bieber in a bathtub (try saying that three times), and from that moment, the pop star began to turn his life around.

When he and Hailey announced their engagement, Bieber first thanked God on Instagram:

 

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Was gonna wait a while to say anything but word travels fast, listen plain and simple Hailey I am soooo in love with everything about you! So committed to spending my life getting to know every single part of you loving you patiently and kindLY. I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make. My heart is COMPLETELY and FULLY YOURS and I will ALWAYS put you first! You are the love of my life Hailey Baldwin and I wouldn’t want to spend it with anybody else. You make me so much better and we compliment eachother so well!! Can’t wait for the best season of life yet!. It’s funny because now with you everything seems to make sense! The thing I am most excited for is that my little brother and sister get to see another healthy stable marriage and look for the same!!! Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT! Isn’t that nuts? By the way I didn’t plan that, anyways My goodness does feel good to have our future secured! WERE GONNA BE BETTER AT 70 BABY HERE WE GO! “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains FAVOR from the Lord!” This is the year of favor!!!!

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He has since shed his bad-boy image for one of pious dedication - to soul-mate Hailey, and to the Church.

Overnight, he again took to Instagram to explain how his faith lead him through a dark chapter of his life. The post reached millions, and numerous famous friends shared their support.

With their star-power combined, West, Kardashian, Bieber, Baldwin and Brad Pitt make for a compelling cohort. So we're calling it: expect to see more celebrities join the throng - trackies and all.

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