Kanye West has come under fire for selling pricey clothing items, including a $225 “Holy Spirit” sweatshirt as he brought his Sunday Service performance to Coachella over the weekend.
For the first time since commencing his Sunday Services, West opened up the spiritual concert to the public at Coachella on Easter Sunday, but he also brought something extra.
Besides his band playing church music and performing gospel versions of popular songs, the rapper/designer also launched an exclusive collection of Yeezy-inspired items bearing religious inscriptions.
“There’s a fine line for which people can bridge commercialism and spirituality in a way that is not tacky and exploitative."
But it wasn’t the fact that West was selling merchandise at the event had folks fuming on social media; it was the high prices he charged for the self-acclaimed “Church Clothes.”
West offered socks that said “Church Socks” and “Jesus Walks” for $50 which turned out to be the lowest amount fans could spend on all the pieces.
There was a cotton t-shirt for $70, $195 sweatpants with the inscription “Sunday Service,” and perhaps the most outrageous and controversial piece in the entire collection, a $225 “Holy Spirit” sweatshirt.
Pictures of the long queue of fans waiting outside West’s “Church Clothes” tent to purchase the merch quickly made it to social media, sparking a widespread backlash.
“False profit, I mean, prophet,” one user replied to a tweet about West’s pricey church wear.
Another person tweeted an image of the clothes and wrote:
“The Sunday Service merch. I love Kanye but I ain't paying 225 for a pretty basic hoodie.”
Someone even brought the rapper’s wife, reality star Kim Kardashian, into the discussion, lashing out at the couple on Twitter.
“$50 for damn socks and $165-$225 ‘Holy Spirit’ sweaters from your Sunday Service Merch,” they wrote. “Either you are out of touch with reality, or you are a criminal.”
A MadameNoire article also criticized West’s merchandise and accused him of exploiting the “Holy Spirit.”
“When you think about selling merchandise, you want to know that people are selling original concepts or repurposing old ideas in new and innovative ways. Kanye West doesn’t have a corner on the Holy Spirit, which is a gift from God to all of us. And putting it on an overpriced hoodie doesn’t seem entirely right.”
“There’s a fine line for which people can bridge commercialism and spirituality in a way that is not tacky and exploitative,” the article went on. “And in this sense, Kanye fails on that front.”
West and Kardashian are yet to respond to the backlash, but the rapper put up the controversial $225 hoodie and other items for sale on his website, so he doesn’t appear to be moved by the backlash.