Friday, October 25 on the year of our lord, 2019. It was around noon that Kanye Omari West finally dropped his long-delayed gospel album, Jesus Is King, after having promised to release it September 27, then September 29, then at midnight on October 25. When midnight came and went like a date that never showed up (as per usual in Kanyelandia), West tweeted at 1:18 a.m. that he and his team were waiting on mixes and would not be sleeping until the album came out. For a moment, we were all college TAs getting the frantic, middle-of-the-night email from a student freaking out about printing issues and family emergencies the night before the big paper is due. But alas, Ye and his unrested, unfucked team finished and Jesus Is King was born. Hallelujah! Praise be!
The album features rousing performances by the Sunday Service church choir… and Kanye rapping about Chick-fil-A. No, really. The fourth track on the album, "Closed on Sunday," opens with the stellar lines: "Closed on Sunday / You my Chick-fil-A / Closed on Sunday / You my Chick-fil A / Hold the selfies / Put the 'gram away." It also ends with a final screech of the restaurant's name for some inexplicable reason. Considering those mentions of selfies and Instagram, the song may very well be about his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, a woman who "wrote" an entire book called Selfish which featured page-after-page of her selfies. The line "You my number one / with the lemonade," both seems to cement this theory and affirm the fact that this song is also kind of, actually, really about Chick-fil-A. Oh, and Christianity. Not sure if you heard, but Kanye is very into Christianity now.
Chick-fil-A is well-known for its religious leanings, guiding its business practices through traditional Christian values, the chain has been on the receiving end of backlash and boycotts because of its support of anti-LGBTQ+ policies. And, as Kanye's song notes, every Chick-fil-A restaurant is closed on Sunday in observance of the lord, leaving those unfettered by homophobia forced to find fried chicken elsewhere one day a week.
It's no surprise that West would use the poultry-and-prejudice peddlers as a metaphorical talking point in his diatribe about his family, seeking faith, and training his children to walk the path of the lord. Chik-Fil-A made fried chicken more than just a food; the brand made it a statement on religious freedom and a symbol of right-wing anti-LGBT policies. Now, in his support of the chain, Kanye has continued to put fans in the awkward position of jumping ship or sticking with him as he continues his pro-Trump, pro-Christian crusade. FFS, all we want is some fried chicken and to listen to "Flashing Lights" without it meaning anything insidious, but that possibility seems further and further away.
VICE reached out to Chick-fil-A for its response to the song. "We are always grateful to see excitement for the brand," a Chick-fil-A Inc. spokesperson said.
Kanye is building more than excitement for the brand, but he's mainly building on his quest to become a religious movement himself. Anyone else suddenly crave Popeyes?