Mega popstar Mariah Carey and director Tyler Perry joined Pastor Joel Osteen for Lakewood Church’s virtual Easter service on Sunday, providing a boost of star power after a planned performance by Kanye West’s Sunday Service chorus was nixed reportedly due to coronavirus-related concerns.
Mariah Carey appeared remotely on Sunday to wish online viewers a Happy Easter. “In a time like this, we set aside our differences, and come together for fellowship and hope,” she said. “We come together to lift each other up during this time of uncertainty, no matter what our views, no matter what our beliefs, no matter what our differences are. And we honor the sacrifice of those of us working every day to keep us safe.”
Carey then performed a version of “Hero,” set to a montage of healthcare professionals and first responders.
Tyler Perry spoke shortly before Carey, reminding online viewers to be grateful for the small things in life.
“I feel like this is a moment in our country and our world as a reset — for all of us to take a minute to realize how much we take for granted,” he said. “My prayer and hope are with the first responders and everything that they’re doing to keep so many of us safe.”
Perry concluded on a note of optimism. “My hope today is that you continue to show kindness and love,” he said. “After this moment has passed, my hope and prayers are that we not return to being so busy that we don’t see God.”
Kanye West had been expected to appear with his Sunday Service choir, but the hip-hop star reportedly decided against performing due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus. TMZ first reported that West’s chorus was planning to wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing positions.
But West ultimately decided that it didn’t feel safe enough for everyone involved, and that he couldn’t carry out his vision, according to the report.
West’s Sunday Service has previously performed for Lakewood Church, including an appearance in November in which the choir performed selections from his gospel album Jesus Is King.