TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Kanye West was in Arizona as a guest speaker in Awaken 2020 at Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium Saturday. Tens of thousands of people attended the event, which was described as “the first epic evangelical stadium event of the decade” and “a monumental movement.”
Hundreds were waiting in lines Saturday morning outside Sun Devil Stadium and many were trying to get good seats for the event.
“Awaken 2020’s purpose is to be a driving force in unifying many groups of people of our great nation … in a time when our nation greatly needs it,” according to a news release about the religious event. Other speakers on the schedule included Brian “Head” Welch, Daniel Kolenda, David Herzog, Stephanie Herzog, Lou Engle, Guillermo Maldonado, Cindy Jacobs, and Jerame Nelson. There will also be music with bands led by Eddie James, Jake Hamilton, Steve Swanson, Jeremy Riddle, and Kanye West’s Sunday Service Collective.
With more than 100 million records sold worldwide, West, who has won 21 Grammy Awards, is one of the best-selling musicians. In addition to being a rapper, singer, and songwriter, he also is a record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. A practicing Christian, West is not shy about sharing his views on life, including politics, which has, on occasion, spawned controversy and drawn both praise and criticism.
West’s ninth studio album, “Jesus is King,” dropped on streaming services in October and includes songs with Christian-themed titles like “Selah,” “Follow God,” “On God,” and “God Is.” NPR cultural writer Oliver Wang described the album as “an intriguing foray into taking gospel rap mainstream.”
Awaken 2020 takes place at Sun Devil Stadium (500 E. Veterans Way, Tempe) on Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The all-day event is free, but you do need to register for a ticket. You can do that at Awaken2020.com.