Last Friday, Kanye West produced a gospel event where more than 1,000 people gave their lives to Jesus during an altar call at the rapper’s “Sunday Service” program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Yeezy’s traveling revivals have sparked conversations about Christianity, mental illness and the complicated relationship that celebrities have with faith and spirituality while navigating the über secular — and at times depraved — world of entertainment.
Whether you support Kanye’s new born again messaging or think this is just the latest in a string of his self indulgent gimmicks, below is a list of five other celebrities who credit Christianity with pulling them out of a rough patch.
People often ask singer Ciara what prayer she recited to attract the love of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, but the truth is he was probably praying just as hard for her.
Wilson has made it no secret that he is a devout Christian and regularly praises God for his victories both on and off the field. And his faith took the forefront even more so during their courtship when he and Ciara revealed that they were abstaining from sex until marriage so they would forge a stronger relationship with Jesus.
Back in April when it was revealed Wilson had reportedly agreed to a four-year, $140 million extension, making him the NFL’s highest-paid player, he once again opted to give glory to God.
“My Hallelujah belongs to YOU,” Wilson tweeted out the morning of the announcement with the hashtag “#AllForYourGlory.”
The Super Bowl champion, says he became a Christian at 14-years-old after being a “bad kid” and only going to church to see the “cute girl.”
“Ever since my life’s changed. My life’s changed for the better,” Wilson told The Rock Church four years ago in a video testimony. “Now it doesn’t mean that all the problems and tribulations and all the things went away. Sometimes even more came, but I believe that God has chosen me for something special. I believe that he put his hand on me to guide me and guide my heart.”
In 2018 Marvel’s Black Panther smashed records, grossing over $700 million domestically. The film immediately thrust Letitia Wright, who played Princess Shuri, the tech-savvy sister of Wakandan King T’Challa into the spotlight.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wright revealed that in 2015 after she sank into a depression, she came out of that dark period after she went to a Bible study and God took hold of her heart.
According to the report, after that the British actress took to “immersing herself in Christianity, she found her equilibrium. Acting, she could take or leave; she turned down a film with Nicole Kidman to focus on her rehabilitative journey.”
“I wrapped it up and was done with it, happy to do anything that was more chilled, but that’s not the way God had it with me,” Wright commented.
Ex-adult film performer Jazmine Cashmere has appeared in over 100 pornographic movies, but it’s been reported that she’s turned her life over to Christ and considers herself a born-again Christian.
The former porn star now goes by her real name, Nicole B. Jones and has become a pastor in Chicago where she heads a ministry shares the gospel with her congregation at church and her followers on social media.
“Trust God’s promise regardless of what may seem to be coming against you,” she recently wrote on Instagram. “There is so much chaos yet so many things to be grateful for at the same time. Stay focused on the gifts of life and things will prosper.”
Kanye isn’t the only Black man associated with the Kardashians whose recently found comfort in religion. This month, Khloé Kardashian’s ex-husband Lamar Odom announced he is now “walking with the Lord.”
“Nowadays I’m doing the best I can in walking with the Lord,” the former NBA star wrote in the caption of two Instagram photos of himself praying alongside Dr. R. A. Vernon, the founder and senior pastor of The Word Church in Ohio. “Thanks to Pastor Vernon @drravernon, I got saved at @thewordchurch this weekend.”
“I had to show Jesus my appreciation for keeping me alive!” he added, in what appears to be a reference to his near fatal overdose in 2015.
Mason Betha, also known as Ma$e, is a multi-platinum-selling rapper who who took over the charts with Sean Diddy Combs in the mid 1990s.
But in 1999 the Harlem native shocked legions of hip hop fans during an interview with Funkmaster Flex on New York radio station Hot 97, when he chose to retire from the industry to become a pastor after receiving a “calling from God”.
In 2009 when he returned to the hip-hop some in the Christian community questioned if he was regressing to which he responded, “Why is it Christians are more confident in the Devil taking me more than Christ keeping me. What I have inside of me is more powerful than anything the world could ever offer me.”
“I thought I could do more than rap and I just so happen to be right. I see different artists making clothing lines and people respected it,” he continued. “Rap has always been about using your talents for doing more. I’m just the one that got criticized for doing more than was unexpected. I think I overachieved.”
It’s worth noting that Ma$e appears to be in favor of Kanye’s new walk with God as evidenced by his recent social media posts.
Main image copyright: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA
Written by: Blue Telusma
First published 05.11.19: https://thegrio.com/2019/11/05/5-black-celebs-kanye-west-christianity-change-lives/