10 Artists Who Have Caused Religious Controversies In Recent History
January 30, 2013 - 7:17 pm
The Artist: Nicki Minaj
The Controversy: At the 2012 Grammy Awards last February, Ms. Minaj walked down the red carpet with an old white man dressed up like the Pope. Then, when she took the stage to perform her new song, "Roman's Holiday," she featured a bunch of Catholic images before performing a bizarre exorcism in order to free her alter ego Roman Zolanski. It was all very strange and, the following day, the Catholic League referred to her performance as "sticking the middle finger right in the faces of Catholics." Nicki insisted that she meant no harm, but we all wish she'd taken a different approach to doing her live Grammys show.
The Artist: Game
The Controversy: Late last year, Game released a new album called Jesus Piece, which featured a photo of Jesus wearing a bandanna over his face and rocking a gold "Jesus piece" around his neck. Some Christian organizations protested against the cover and said that Game should be ashamed to feature an image of Jesus dressed up like a Blood on his album cover. But, Game came out and said that the album wasn't supposed to depict Jesus as a Blood; it was supposed to depict Rick James dressed up as Jesus. Whatever the case may be, it served its' intended purpose and got Game a lot of free publicity.
The Artist: Meek Mill
The Controversy: Last summer, right around the time Meek's hit single, "Amen," started blowing up, a pastor from Philadelphia boycotted the song publicly and called for others to boycott it, too, because he felt like it was blasphemous for Meek to use "Amen" on the hook of his song. Meek initially put up a fight and called the pastor out for seeking publicity for himself through his actions. But, he eventually apologized and made amends with the pastor.
The Artist: Nas
The Controversy: In the music video for his 1999 hit, "Hate Me Now," Nasty was shown getting nailed to the cross and it immediately caused controversy. But, as he explained later, he did it to try and prove a point. "There was a play in New York City where a black man played Jesus and [it] caught a lot of flak," he said. "I think, even the mayor at the time, Giuliani, was against it. So, my thing was I wanted to be crucified like Jesus in the video, to get back at all those people that don't want to see a black man doing his thing." To add to the controversy, Diddy—who appeared on the song and in the video—was also originally crucified in the video. But, he asked for that part to get cut after having a discussion with his pastor. And, when it initially wasn't removed, he was involved in an infamous fight with Nas' manager Steve Stoute.
The Artist: Elton John
The Controversy: Rappers aren't the only ones who've gotten themselves involved in religious controversies! In 2010, Elton John also made headlines when he did an interview with Parade magazine and insinuated that Jesus Christ was gay. "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems," he said. "On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving. I don't know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East—you're as good as dead."
The Artist: Lady Gaga
The Controversy: Shortly after she released her single, "Judas," in early 2011, the Catholic League spoke out against both the title and the lyrics of the song as well as the way Gaga worked Catholic images into her performances and music videos. "She is trying to rip off Christian idolatry to shore up her talentless, mundane, and boring performances," they said in a statement. "Another ex-Catholic whose head is turned around…Is this the only way to jet up her performance? This isn't random, we are getting closer to Holy Week and Easter."
The Artist: Christina Aguilera
The Controversy: Last year, Xtina dropped a new album, Lotus. And, she attracted plenty of attention when she did, because: A) She took off all her clothes for the album cover, and B) She struck a pose that looked all-too-similar to the one that Jesus struck when he was resurrected. WTF? We're still wondering what she was thinking with this one.
The Artist: Rick Ross
The Controversy: Last October, Rozay turned some heads when he called his new mixtape The Black Bar Mitzvah and featured his face inside the Star of David on the cover. It was enough to get his fellow rapper Shyne, who practices Judaism, all up in arms.
The Artist: Tyler, the Creator
The Controversy: After the Odd Future leader won the "Best New Artist" award at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2011, the Christian Post put up an article that featured a number of Christians speaking out against the content of Tyler's music and, in particular, a line on Tyler's song, "Yonkers," that featured him directing a jab at Jesus. "Regarding Tyler and Christianity," one man said, "or even God for that matter, I don't think people should ever go there. We shouldn't even ask him, and people DEFINITELY should not try to defend his spirituality."
The Artist: Kanye West
The Controversy: Back in 2006, Kanye West was getting killed in the press for being a little too full of himself. So, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing a crown of thorns next to the cover line, "THE PASSION OF KANYE WEST." He also included this gem of a quote in the interview: "You want me to be great," he said, "but you don't ever want me to say I'm great?" That obviously just led to more backlash against him and, well, even more controversy. No surprise there.