Kanye West is facing criticism for his decision to headline an evangelical Christian event.
The event featured several religious figures with blatant anti-LGBTQ viewpoints. The event, Awaken 2020, took place on Jan. 18 at the Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona. West is facing backlash from some of his fans, as well as the LGBTQ community at large, for taking part in the event.
Other headliners included Cindy Jacobs, Guillermo Maldonado, Daniel Kolenda, David Herzog, and Brian Welch. Initially, Lou Engle was also slated to appear, but event organizers announced beforehand that he would no longer be participating. Engle has previously voiced his support for proposed anti-LGBTQ laws in Uganda, which would include punishment as severe as the death penalty. Other headliners have vocalized similar viewpoints.
Jacobs has urged her followers to stand against the Equality Act, which aims to protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show in June 2019, she indicated that the law’s passage could spark a civil war. Maldonado, another headliner, said in his 2016 book Supernatural Deliverance that homosexuality could be blamed on “a generational curse, or even a demonic attack while in the womb.”
West’s involvement with such vocal anti-LGBTQ figures was immediately denounced by many of his fans and followers. “Kanye is living proof that being talented doesn’t stop you from being an imbecile too,” comedian Víctor Medina tweeted. In no time, dozens of prominent figures were heaping criticism on West’s decision.
Kanye es la prueba viviente que ser talentoso no evita que también se pueda ser un imbécil. https://t.co/FMVETV5tz0— Víctor Medina (@nanutria) January 17, 2020
Are you fucking kidding mehttps://t.co/Tu6hzOFEjU— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) January 17, 2020
People even called out his wife, Kim Kardashian West. Responding to a tweet from Kardashian West, one Twitter user asked if she supported her husband’s move. “Wtf is your husband #Kanye doing attending events headlined by anti-LGBT pastors,” they wrote. “He is basically saying ‘I agree with what you think.’ Being a person of faith is one thing… but are y’all anti-gay now?!?!”
Wtf is your husband #Kanye doing attending events headlined by anti-LGBT pastors?! He is basically saying “I agree with what you think.” Being a person of faith is one thing… but are y’all anti-gay now?!?! pic.twitter.com/iYwA9sBlVB— Jerry Mandré (@JerryMandre) January 15, 2020
Another user called out Kardashian West in several tweets. “Will you be standing by your husband at the rally with the people who celebrated Uganda’s push for the death penalty for homosexuality,” Twitter user @XanadudeEarth2 asked.
Despite the criticism, Awaken 2020 is standing by its decision to feature West. David Herzog, one of the event’s organizers, told AZ Central “Awaken 2020 invited Kanye West to headline our Awaken 2020 event because we believe God has given Kanye a powerful platform to share his personal testimony with the world and to showcase the love, grace, and redeeming power of God by lifting up the name of Jesus. Like Kanye, Awaken 2020 has no place for affiliation of hate or harm toward any other person.”
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