Depending on who you get your pop-culture insight from, Kanye West’s Sunday Easter Service at the Coachella music festival was either a magnum opus of artistic genius or a shameless act of exploitation.
Whatever it be, one thing’s for sure: the famed rapper certainly didn’t shy away from the economic opportunity afforded by the unique event, selling off some pricey “church” merch to revelers looking to join in on the worship service. Behold:
According to Consequence of Sound, Kanye West sold the limited-edition merchandise under a tent labeled “Church Clothes” that offered “church socks” for $50 and “Holy Spirit” hoodies for $225.
“Kanye set up a merchandise booth to sell his special Sunday Service ‘church clothes,’ a collection of clothing items nondescript and neutral-colored much like his own Yeezy line,” reports the outlet. “Hoodies and t-shirts were emblazoned with religious words and phrases, such as ‘Holy Spirit,’ ‘Trust God,’ and ‘At the Mountain,’ a reference to the Coachella area where his Sunday Service was held. Socks, meanwhile, featured the words ‘Jesus Walks,’ nodding to the MC’s 2004 The College Dropout hit.”
According to the outlet, Kanye sold sweatshirts at prices ranging from $165 to $225, t-shirts for $70, and socks for $50, the least expensive item offered at his “church clothes” merch booths.
Adam Tschorn at the Los Angeles Times said, however, that those prices were an outright bargain for people hoping to purchase an “I was there” type of memento. “If a $50 two-pack of rib-knit ‘Jesus Walks’ and ‘church clothes’ socks serves as an ‘I was there’ souvenir to that kind of had-to-be-there moment, it feels like an outright bargain,” he wrote.
TMZ reports that over 50,000 people attended the Easter Sunday Service, which went for a few hours atop on a man-made mountain that audiences surrounded from a distance. Much of the show featured West singing alongside dozens of other selected musicians and dancers as they moved around in frumpy mauve costumes.
“Versions of his own songs, gospel standards, and classic pop and R&B tracks all wove in and out of each other, rising and falling in waves,” reports LA Mag. “West’s close friends and collaborators Chance the Rapper, Teyana Taylor, and Kid Cudi all appeared, swaying with the music, performing solos, and occasionally embracing West, who seemed emotionally overwhelmed by the power of his own service.”
This aerial photo provides some perspective:
People of all faiths were welcome to attend the show. West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, told Elle that his Sunday Service often welcomes Jews, Muslims, and others.
“Kourtney’s best friends come all the time and they’re Muslim,” she said. “All my Jewish friends came on Sunday; they loved it. Everyone that comes understands it’s just a really healing experience with an amazing choir, and amazing messages about love to start off your week.”
Following the success of the song “Jesus Walks,” Kanye has maintained that he believes in God and Jesus Christ. In 2014, while performing at a show in Australia, he proclaimed himself to be a “married, Christian man.”
“I’m not judging but I’m just going to tell you who I am. I’m a married, Christian man,” he told the crowd.