Kanye West took his Sunday Service to televangelist Joel Osteen’s Houston-based Lakewood Church recently.
The rapper has come under fire for teaming up with the controversial preacher, who has been criticized for reaping in millions in donations every year, yet failed to help those most in need on their doorstep. Osteen famously refused to open the doors to the megachurch, which has space for at least 16,000, to evacuees of Hurricane Harvey.
Critics joked that Kanye, who is also no stranger to controversy and once called slavery a ‘choice’, teaming up with the televangelist was ‘an early warning sign of the apocalypse.’ Many said the pair ‘deserved each other.’
West and a choir will perform in the 7pm Sunday Service at the religious institution, Donald Iloff, Jr., a spokesperson for the church, told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday.
West, 43, and Osteen, 56, will chat earlier at the 11am service Sunday for about 15-20 minutes, Iloff said, adding Osteen ‘will talk about Kanye’s journey to his faith.’
Collaboration: Kanye West, 43, will take his Sunday Service to televangelist Joel Osteen, 56, and his Houston-based Lakewood Church this week
Iloff estimated to the Houston Chronicle that the 16,000-seat church, which has a congregation of around 70,000 people, draws about 45,000 members per weekend.
He said that additional security will be on hand for the Grammy-winning artist’s appearance, noting that church officials ‘are not worried about it.’
Iloff told the paper that the collaborative effort came into play as the Runaway singer was in Houston for a set at the Astroworld Festival from Travis Scott.
‘Kanye and Joel are friends,’ Iloff told the paper. ‘He’s been wanting to come out for some time and it just worked out for this weekend.’
West’s friendship with Osteen has gained steam amid his recent focus toward spirituality, sources told TMZ, noting that the rapper will discuss how his life has changed amid the spiritual awakening.
‘Kanye used to be about nothing greater than himself,’ a source said. ‘Now it’s all about a higher power.’
West is taking the weekly service to Texas following previous stints in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Dayton, Ohio and Cody, Wyoming.
The collaboration received a chilly reception on Twitter, with many people referencing the August 2017 incident in which Osteen caught flak after he didn’t initially open the doors of Lakewood Church as Hurricane Harvey touched down.
Osteen, who lives in a $10million mansion, has a personal wealth of at least $40million and flies the US via private jet, claimed that the church was initially closed due to flooding, according to USA Today.
It was later proved that the church remained dry and unaffected by the floodwaters. Under pressure, the church did eventually open its doors after two days.
TV personality Keith Boykin was among those who took to Twitter to sound off about the news item.
He wrote: ‘2005: Kanye West blames the White House for slow response to Hurricane Katrina: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” 2019: Kanye West teams up with Joel Osteen, the pastor who locked the doors of his church during Hurricane Harvey.’
One user wrote: ‘Joel Osteen will open his doors to people that just want to go see Kanye but not people that had their houses flood,’ while another said, ‘A Kanye West and Joel Osteen collaboration is an early warning sign of the apocalypse.”