Previously secular artists such as Chance the Rapper, Justin Beiber, and Kanye West have all come out with gospel music in the past couple of years- so what does this mean for the gospel music community? And the Christian community?
A gospel choir member and musical theater major at Lipscomb, Téa Doherty, shares her take on artists like Kanye West.
“If God’s word is being preached… whoever is not against us is for us! So, what’s it to me if Kanye does gospel music? That’s great! I dig it.”
Ever since 6th grade, student Ryan Lusk has been an avid Kanye fan.
“I think a lot of Christians get weirded out by swearing and talking about substance use and things like that. I think it’s actually really cool to be able to blend it…I think normal people can also love Jesus and I think they do a good job of expressing that through music,” Lusk said.
“Sometimes Christians fall into the judgemental side of stuff… What are you doing? You are being a jerk in the name of religion, and I don’t think Jesus would do that.”
Téa loves Chance’s single, “How Great.” “The fact that it’s acapella and I still feel like nothing is missing is really powerful,” she said. “There’s no limiting to gospel music- it’s just big and bold. I love it.”
Aaron Howard, the director of the gospel choir at Lipscomb University, gives credit to secular artists where they are due.
“We have a debt of gratitude for Kanye West because West starting his Sunday Service Choir has caused gospel music to be more intriguing and attractive for more young people from diverse backgrounds,” Howard said. “… I just think we have to be careful not to create Christian celebrities out of people because they are already celebrities.”
Gospel music has played a vital role in Aaron Howard’s spiritual formation, and many others as well. While it is coming back to the mainstream, we can only hope that it will continue to transform lives.
“We’ve all been lonely. We’ve all been sad. We’ve all been in need of God to work a miracle or to do something on our behalf and the gospel gives voice to that part of the human condition,” he said. “We all go through pain and despair and we all need a language around which to encounter and approach God.”