Thu | Aug 13, 2020

Kanye West, 120-strong choir to pop up at Emancipation Park

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:14 AMYasmine Peru and Kimberley Small/Gleaner Writers
Kanye West
Kanye West

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is the lead body facilitating the hosting of Kanye West’s pop-up Sunday Service at Emancipation Park tomorrow.

The Minister of Culture Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange told The Gleaner last evening that she received a call from West’s advance team on Monday night, making the request to have the rap star hold his praise and worship service in Jamaica.

“He has a Jamaican working with him, and the suggestion was made that he should come here to have his service because he has been having them all over. His advance team was already in the island, so we were able to convene a meeting with them on Tuesday morning to walk through the logistics. They are flying in on Thursday and will host the service Friday and fly back out on Saturday,” Grange said.

Grange revealed that the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission and West’s team have oversight responsibility for the two-hour-long concert and that although Kanye will be bringing in his own equipment, he will be utilising some of what is available in the island. Grange has already done her due diligence and has secured all the necessary permits needed for the event.

“I have written to Emancipation Park, the assistant commissioner, JAMMS, and JACAP. We are working along with the Tourist Board, and we will be working our protocols for the airport,” she revealed.

“We have to ensure that everything is structured properly and that there will be special VIP seating and a press area,” Grange added.


Legendary emcee and event organiser Tommy Cowan, who made the radical transition from the secular world into dedicated Christianity in 1996, weighed in on West bringing his concert series to Jamaica, saying it is something he would not question.

“There is a part in the Bible when God uses a donkey to bring across his message. God works in mysterious ways, and if it is God working through him [West], we can’t question it,” he told The Gleaner.

“Music is one of the most powerful tools to unite people of all races, class, creed, colour, or religion, and this has been so from time [immemorial]. In the Bible itself, it says, ‘The singers and the players of instruments shall sit upon the right hand of God.’ It’s a profound statement to show God’s respect for music. And we have learned through the passage of time that when things fail, even at the political table, music is quite a tool of unity – a powerful force.”

Cowan hopes that West’s conversion turns out to be as weighed and measured as his and others who chose the path of the righteous.

West, the usually controversial rapper, has taken the series to Howard University then to George Washington University. The concert series began on January 6, and has made stops in major cities all across the United States.

With his large choir of 120 persons, along with production crew, Kanye’s party should number approximately 170 persons for the staging at Emancipation Park tomorrow.