Kanye did the most Kanye thing ever and came out with a religion. Well, Kanye didn’t actually drop it himself (nor has he acknowledged that it exists), but Yeezianity is an ode to the hip hop icon, who Ye’ciples refer to only as Yeezus. As with anything Kanye related, Yeezianity will be divisive, polarizing, and to some, fucking insane. But before judging Yeezianity it’s important to try and understand it. I don’t like calling Kanye crazy or writing that Ye rants whenever he opens his mouth. So instead of labeling it right away I decided to do a little research.
Since this is the first religion dedicated to a hip hop artist it’s Bound 2 have its flaws. With Yeezianity, my biggest concern is membership. According to Yeezianity.com, a website run by the anonymous founder, the qualifications for becoming a Ye’ciple is, “to take a photo or video of yourself stating ‘I Believe In Yeezus’ and post it on your social media accounts.” It doesn’t take a genius like Steve Jobs or Walt Disney to know that this method could be disastrous. By allowing anyone with a social media account to become a follower just by taking a picture or video, you’re begging for Internet trolls. Imagine if you could convert to Catholicism by posting a 15 second clip on Instagram, pro-choice advocates would have a field day. Instead, to become a Catholic you have to pick a church, speak with the priest and get baptized. This procedure makes it so non-believers don’t join to antagonize, and with someone as divisive as Yeezus you know there are going to be more than a few non-believers. When I wrote to the founder about Internet trolls, he/she didn’t seem concerned. In an e-mail he/she said that they would actually encourage such behavior because the ideas of Yeezianity are so positive the trolls would see the truth. Maybe. Probably not, though.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of scripture. Jewish people have the Torah, Christians have the Bible, Muslims have the Qur’an, and so on. What do the Ye’ciples have? The website includes Declarations of Faith, 5 Pillars, and the Golden Rule but those are guidelines, not sacred writings. Deacon Peter Goddard of Myrtle Baptist Church notes that scripture lays out how followers are supposed to live. “Scripture shows where the precepts are. It basically documents what the basic beliefs and the doctrine. Whatever scripture it is, the bible or the Qur’an, it shows you how to walk the path. It’s critical to any religion, new or old.” The founder of Yeezianity claims that any art from the work of a genius is what Ye’ciples should be reading as scripture. This leaves what’s supposed to be sacred text up for wild interpretation. I mean, who’s to say someone is or isn’t a genius? I asked the founder if he/she considered Lil Durk a genius therefore making his work scripture. Unfortunately he/she was not familiar with any of Lil Durk’s work.
There is some potential in this new religion though. It’s 5 Pillars are a solid outline for living life.
1. All things created must be for the good of All.
2. No human being’s right to express themselves must ever be repressed.
3. Money is unnecessary except as a means of exchange.
4. Man possesses the power to create everything he wants and needs.
5. All human suffering exists to stimulate the creative powers of Man.
Besides pillar number three (what else do we use money for besides as a means for exchange?) Yeezianity is simply promoting creativity. The Golden Rule states, “Create For Others What You Would Have Created For Yourself” a play on the passage in the bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” [Matthew 7:12]. As a writer, and an overall creative enthusiast, I can’t say there’s anything inherently bad with Yeezianity’s principles. In fact, I prefer them over most religions. However, it’s weak delivery, disorganization, and absence of thought won’t help get the message across. How Kanye of Yeezianity.
Maybe Kanye isn’t personally connected to Yeezianity but his personality is 100% in line with the new religion. Kanye, the innovator and genius he is, goes about things in the worst ways. This is the dude who said George Bush doesn’t like black people on live TV, during a Red Cross relief ad. The man who ruined Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA’s claiming that Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time, belittling Swift during her moment. In both instances Kanye isn’t lying. These are beliefs a lot of people have. How in the world did “Single Ladies” lose to “You Belong With Me”? Shit is practically criminal. Point being, Kanye is right a lot of the time but the way he goes about shit is always wrong.
We have the same dilemma with Yeezianity. The focus on creativity is nice. Who doesn’t want to live in a world where everyone creates for others something as beautiful as they would have created for themselves? Who doesn’t want to believe in the creative power of man? All of that sounds pretty tight. However, stacked up to the major religions, Yeezianity is a massive flop. You can’t even call it a religion. It’s an aimless cult at best. What are Yeezianity’s creeds? We can’t know because there’s no definitive scripture. Are there any high holy days? Ye’s birthday maybe, but there’s no way I can tell my boss I’m taking Kanye West’s birthday off. That would be ridiculous. How about an afterlife? These are essential traits of any organized religion and Yeezianity hasn’t touched on any of them.
When it comes down to it, starting a religion based on the emcee who wrote “Gold Digger” is not the way to successfully inspire creativity. Get with Ye himself, write some scripture, pick out some dope religious holidays, and invest in a few places of worship and then maybe you will find a convert in me. Until then I’m going to have to pass on Yeezianity, thanks though.