(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — For many it was not surprising that there was a Jamaican, among the members of the 120-strong mass choir lead by American rapper Kanye West, which ministered inside Emancipation Park on Friday evening.
Ameera Perkins might be American born, but her Jamaican roots run deep. It has only been three months since she became a member of the Sunday Service phenomenon which pops up across the United States with its brand of ministry through music.
Perkins, with a Jamaican flag in hand was only too happy to share her joy about being on the island and sharing her love of the gospel through music to a packed Emancipation Park.
“I’m form Ohio, but my parents are from MoBay and it feels good to be here with my people, to praise God with my people, to be with Kanye West… It’s been a really good time and the city has shown so much love,” she told the Jamaica Observer following the two-hour long performance.
From as early as 3:00 pm on Friday Jamaicans began to gather in the popular recreational space located in close proximity to the bustling business district of New Kingston. West arrived on the island by private jet just hours prior to the start.
By the 7:00 pm start time, thousands of Jamaicans had made their way to experience the performance including members of the local entertainment fraternity such as Alaine, Jesse Royal, Spice, and Agent Sasco.
Things got going once the singers and musicians graced the stage at 7:08 pm and were greeted by a sea of cellular phones and digital cameras as the massive congregation was ready to capture the moment.
The cheers rose as they opened with a gospel cover of Damian Marley’s Grammy-winning anthem Welcome to Jamrock, then segued into other numbers like I am Blessed by Mr Vegas ; I know His name, Born Again and Lift Jesus Higher.
West made his appearance at 7:36 pm to join his team and was welcomed with a thunderous uproar from the packed venue.
Other songs like Alpha and Omega, Jesus Brought Sunshine, This is a God Dream and Jesus Walks rang out across the cityscape
West, who made public his acceptance of Christianity earlier this year, also gave a short exhortation about the true meaning of the religion.
“You know, we as Christians, we get so beat up… ‘don’t tell me what to do, don’t tell me how to really be, don’t tell me how to follow Christ’. It ain’t about who’s pointing fingers about following Christ the wrong way, because the truth is inside the word. It’s your personal relationship with God; it’s your personal relationship with the Father that created everything,” he reasoned with the audience.
The rapper added that it was fate for him to encounter the singers, so that they could help with his ministry.
“Just look at this choir; they moved to California singing in the music industry…willing to sing for anything other than God, willing to sing about any subject matter that the record deals may have held. As soon as we put that choir together, we have the best singers possible — all coming together singing for God,” he continued.
Friday’s pop-up performance set Jamaica trending on social media platforms, being the first Caribbean country to experience Sunday Service since Kanye conceptualised the series on January 6. He is also slated to drop his ninth studio album, titled Jesus is King later this month.