Kanye West doesn't consider it blasphemous to have a Jesus impersonator on his Yeezus tour set.
The controversial rapper shocked those in attendance Saturday at his opening date when an actor portraying the Son of God joined him on stage during the introduction of his song "Jesus Walks."
"White Jesus is that you? I been looking for you my whole life," Kanye said at the Key Arena in Seattle when the actor emerged, dressed in a white gown. The biblical figure replied, "But I found you. I've been here the whole time."
The scene that included profanity in the dialogue received some backlash. A concertgoer is heard saying, "Way too far, Man" as others cheered in video footage that surfaced online.
In an interview Monday on San Francisco's KMEL, Kanye said he consulted ministers about the segment. "I talked to pastors about it," he told the radio station. "I talked to my friend Pastor Rich that has the church down in Miami and asked him about it. And my girl asked him separately, too, 'Do you think that's kinda weird like that?'"
Kanye said Pastor Rich was supportive. "He said, 'Look, we have plays where people play Jesus. We have people who rep that,'" he said, recalling advice from the Miami-based preacher.
"I am so happy I was raised in a religion where we can actually portray God," Kanye said. "Certain religions where you are not allowed to and in my religion you are allowed to."
Kanye has frequently used Jesus symbolism in his career to pay homage to his religious beliefs.
"For me, I'm Christian and I'm hip hop," he told the station. "So you mix those two things together and you want to express yourself a certain type of way and be bold and expressive."
Kanye said the likes of Mercedes Benz and Michael Jordan are often celebrated in pop culture, and he is simply paying homage to Jesus in the same way.
"I want to be like Christ," he said. "That's not to say to walk in his image and to think there's no God complex. So if people pick a favorite Halloween character it's like that's what I would pick because don't people pick people that they look up to and stuff?"
Jesus even inspires Kanye's fashion endeavors. "That's who I look up to the most so it's hard for me to look up to anyone else," he said. "I only look up to Jesus and to God and everything that I do anchors around it, nicknames itself to that. Like that's my hero."
Are you OK with Kanye's use of Jesus's image in his works or do you think he has crossed the line?
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