The first exposure I ever got to Kanye West's Sunday Service was probably by mindlessly clicking on one of the Kardashians' snapchat stories a few months ago.
I didn't quite get what it was about at first. All I noticed was the Kardashian clan in their monochrome grayish clothes in an outdoor setting, a lot of singing, dancing, and oh yeah, did I mention a lot of singing?
Once I later learned that it was an exclusive, celebrity-filled Sunday Service Kanye held with close family and friends, I was curious but also knew I would never be able to see it in my lifetime so I really just forgot about it.
But, truly, the perks of attending UCLA — a school located in one of the most ideal locations for seeing celebrities (I mean Justin Bieber played soccer at our field?) — pulled through for me.
As I just started attending UCLA this fall, I heard about the exciting news that Kanye was holding Sunday Services, open to the public, at The Forum in Inglewood, only about half an hour away from UCLA.
Although I was skeptical towards Kanye potentially commodifying religion, the cheapest tickets were only $30 and I heard proceeds were being donated to a charity of his choice.
Now, let's be real, when would I ever get a chance to see Kanye perform live for less than $50 anyways?
On Sunday, around 1:40pm, my friend and I arrived at the venue. The moment I entered the venue, the stage immediately grabbed my attention and I was in awe at its beauty. I don't think I've ever seen a stage like that. It was filled with greenery. There were colorful flowers, small shrubs and bushes everywhere. In the middle of all the breathtaking greenery was a large, circular meadow with a piano, drums, and other musical equipment. The stage itself, even in the absence of music, already put me in an unexplainably calm mood.
The service was scheduled to start at 2pm but it didn't start until a lot later, probably around 3pm. After a few subtle opening acts by some musicians, the lights went out and I could see silhouettes of people walking onto the stage. The moment the stage lights turned on, Kanye's gospel choir, all dressed in matching monochrome outfits, started singing in unison and that gave me the chills. Their voices were so amazingly powerful they filled up the entire room, oozing with passion and energy.
Throughout service, Kanye was surprisingly very modest.
He barely put any attention on himself but rather blended in with the rest of the choir. I honestly had difficulty spotting him in the beginning and tracking him throughout the service because he barely made it known to the audience that he was the famous Kanye West and was there on stage. He spoke on the microphone only when he needed to and definitely let the two pastors, that gave brief but meaningful sermons, and of course, the absolutely phenomenal gospel choir shine the whole time. North West, Kanye's daughter, was also present, excitedly running up and down the stage, seemingly enjoying her dad and choir's performance.
Songwise, they performed most songs from Kanye's most recent album JESUS IS KING along with some hymns.
They also included songs like "Ultralight Beam" and "Father Stretch My Hands" from his 2016 album The Life of Pablo, which, needless to say, Kanye's fans were more than delighted with.
Kanye's Sunday Service was overall amazing.
It was truly two hours of just pure love, positivity, and healing. It was an extraordinary opportunity to discover, yet again, how much power lies within music and the wondrous joy that music brings to our lives.
Even if you are not religious, simply put, Kanye's Sunday Service is a therapeutic musical experience — one you do not want to miss out on. The interpretation of the service, the moment, the atmosphere, and more is entirely up to you and however you'd like to take it.
I don't know where his next Sunday Services will be taking place, (now that he seems busy also putting up some opera…? Oh Kanye.) but I would definitely be on the lookout for tickets when he's in your area.
Trust me, you'll thank me later.