Mainstream rapper Kanye West continues to court controversy in gospel circles.

THE DECISION by American gospel music's prestigious Stellar Awards to include in its list of nominees the mainstream hit "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West, a nomination which was later withdrawn, continues to illicit considerable comment. One of the original protesters against the nomination, Bobby Herring, also known as Tre9, founder and president of the Houston Holy Hip-Hop Alliance, was quoted in the January 2005 issue of Charisma magazine, "The leaders of Holy Hip-Hop were outraged. I gave them 30 days to respond (to my letter) and then I would go further with the protest."

Another figure interviewed was Gerard Henry, host of the popular gospel video show Lift Every Voice on Black Entertainment Television, who said the Stellar Awards may not have realised the full scope of West's expletive-strewn album 'The College Dropout' from which "Jesus Walks" was taken. "I have mixed feelings about the song," said Henry. "I think it sounds great. I like the name of Jesus being put into the mainstream. It creates discussion. But I think that instead of attacking him, we should reach out to him and disciple him. He needs to be fathered and to know that there is a difference between just knowing that Jesus walks and walking with Jesus." CR

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