WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Kanye West’s surprise visit at a Texas prison reportedly brought some hope to several of its inmates.
- Featuring songs from his latest album Jesus is King, Kanye performed and rapped in front of 200 male prisoners, followed by another performance for female inmates in another jail across the street.
- The surprise performance was lauded by Texas Gov. Abbott who said the rapper’s move may help transform the lives of the incarcerated.
Kanye West’s surprise performance at a Texas prison on Friday reportedly moved the inmates to tears and kneeling in prayer.
Together with his choir, the rapper and producer rapped for more than 200 male prisoners at the Harris County Jail and shared tracks from his latest album, the gospel-inspired record Jesus is King. Later, the hip-hop artist also performed for a smaller group of female inmates in another facility across the street.
“This is a mission, not a show,” West said to the audience while shaking hands and giving hugs to the inmates as he entered the jail.
“Say what you want about the man,” tweeted public affairs director for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Jason Spencer. “But Kanye West and his choir brought some light to people who needed it today at the Harris County Jail.”
The Houston Chronicle reported that the surprise visit actually took place in advance. It turned out that previously, West got in touch with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice asking if he can give a free show at one of their jails. The agency denied his request before Harris County officials said yes.
“What Kanye West does to inspire the incarcerated is transformative,” tweeted Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on Sunday. “Inmates who turn to God may get released earlier [because] of good behavior & may be less likely to commit future crimes.”
Commending Kanye’s move, Abbot expressed hopes that other artists would also follow his lead.
The show on Friday came two days ahead of Kanye’s gospel performance at Joel Osteen’s 45,000-capacity Lakewood Church. His ‘Sunday service’ at the megachurch is also broadcast online.
West’s songs featured from his newest album opened at No.1 on the Billboard 200 earlier this month, along with other hits like “Jesus Walks” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.”