Kanye West 1st Opera Missed Me Now, a Silver Lining

Mega

Kanye West might've been somewhat absent from his first opera in L.A. -- but he seems ready to make up for that tenfold with a silver bullet solution ... oh, mother of God.

We mean that literally!!! Ye's down at Art Basel in Miami right now, ready to premiere his new opera, dubbed "Mary." You might've heard of her -- she was Jesus's virgin mom ... a big deal in Christianity and elsewhere. Looks like Kanye dedicated a whole production to her.

It also appears he and others involved in the opera are actually going to be on stage and involved in the goings-on of the story ... completely covered in silver, head to toe.

Mega

Based on a quote Ye included in his description of the opera, it's a safe bet this is basically gonna portray the Nativity story ... in which Mary miraculously became pregnant and gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, welcoming royal visitors from distant lands for the occasion.

As for what the silver outfits might mean ... it's anyone's guess. Kanye and co. may be playing angels of some sort, or maybe Christmas stars guiding the way? Time will tell ...

OPERA KING
TMZ.com

You'll recall ... Kanye's 1st opera, Nebuchadnezzar, got mixed reviews when it debuted at the Hollywood Bowl last month. It took forever for the show to actually start, and it ended pretty quickly too. Ye didn't perform either -- he just narrated from behind the curtain.

Here's hoping this one goes over a little better. Silver Surfer Ye's gotta count for something, right?

Jeff Ross Welcome to the Jewish Tribe, Tiff ... Come One, Come All!!!

Exclusive
SHOUTOUT TO MY HE-BROS
TMZ.com

Jeff Ross is welcoming Tiffany Haddish to the Jewish faith with open arms -- and he's also inviting anyone else of color to get on-board and enjoy the perks of Tribe membership.

The comic gave us his two cents Saturday outside of his Roastmaster's pop-up coffee shop on Ventura Blvd. in L.A. -- telling us what he made of Tiff recently embracing her Jewish heritage and celebrating it with a Black Mitzvah in conjunction with a new comedy special.

Watch ... Jeff seems ecstatic over the news and gives her a couple tips on how live like a Jew. He also has a message for other black celebs who are thinking of converting ... which sounds like great material he might use in a roast setting. That's sorta his thing.

Our photog pivots to Hanukkah, asking if Jeff thinks TH might enjoy that over a traditional Christmas. He's got a hilarious take on that too ... comparing Tiffany to a menorah.

'Tis the season ... to let the edgy jokes fly. Happy holidays!!!

Kanye West Going Even Bigger with Joel Osteen ... Will Pack Yankee Stadium in 2020!!!

Exclusive
TMZ/Getty Composite

Kanye West is going from the big stage at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church to a truly massive one -- this time they'll be teaming up to fill Yankee Stadium to the brim ... TMZ has learned.

Sources close to Kanye tell us ... Ye and Joel will take center stage at baseball's cathedral on May 2, 2020 for a mega event that certainly plays like a tour stop. The NYC event is part of Joel's "America's Night of Hope" ... which he takes to several cities across the country.

We're told Joel will do his sermon at Yankee Stadium, and then let Kanye and his choir do their thing with the music. Call it a double play, considering the setting, similar to what they did a few weeks ago in Houston.

YE AT LAKEWOOD
Lakewood Church

If Joel's past appearances at Yankee Stadium are any indication, this one's sure to sell out quickly ... especially now that Kanye's involved. The stadium has a max capacity of 54,251 ... almost 10,000 more than Lakewood.

This will be Joel's third time doing 'Night of Hope' at the Stadium, but his first with Ye.

Joel Olsteen Ministries

Our sources tell us the Lakewood get-together went so well, Joel recently asked Kanye about when they will do a sequel ... and they agreed Yankee Stadium would be the perfect backdrop. They're coordinating details now.

As far as how much these tickets might go for ... they could be decently priced. Past tickets for 'Night of Hope' sermons have gone for $15 a pop, but nothing's set in stone quite yet.

Pope Francis Gifted Custom Ravens Jersey Signed By Lamar Jackson!!!

Breaking News

Lamar Jackson's breakout season has officially reached the Vatican City ... 'cause Pope Francis was just gifted a personalized Ravens jersey signed by the superstar QB!!!

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori was bearing gifts when he hit up Rome this week ... handing the pontiff his very own "Francis #8" jersey with Jackson and John Harbaugh's signatures on it!!!

Jackson has been playing outta his mind this season ... with a combined 32 total touchdowns, 2,532 passing yards and 977 rushing yards. Now that the pope has the dude on his radar, you might as well hand him the MVP trophy now.

Sorry, Russell Wilson ... maybe next year.

Of course, Pope Francis has been showing a lot of bias lately ... remember when he accidentally tweeted support for the New Orleans Saints earlier this season???

Consider Jackson officially #blessed. Watch out, AFC.

Tiffany Haddish I'm 40 and Jewish ... Time for a 'Black Mitzvah'!!!

Tiffany Haddish is celebrating 3 things at once, and they all center around her Jewish heritage ... something she's leaning into as she hits the big 4-0.

The comedian and actress turned 40 on Tuesday and decided to ring it in by throwing a 'Black Mitzvah.' What the hell is that? Well, it's not only the title of her new Netflix stand-up special -- which dropped Tuesday -- but it also looks like a kick-ass freakin' party.

Tiff's bday bash/bat mitzvah went down at the SLS Hotel in Bev Hills, where friends like Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin Nealon and Sinbad -- to name just a few -- helped her celebrate.

If you hadn't heard, Tiffany learned she was part Jewish a bit late in life -- age 27, apparently -- with her father revealing he was an Eritrean Jew. That spurred her to learn more about the culture, and now she's dedicated her comedy special to it.

She's also been studying Hebrew, so she seems to be taking it seriously. Funny enough, Tiff used to work at bar and bat mitzvahs -- she says she was an "energy producer" at events. You can see that's a perfect gig for her.

Now, she's finally come of age ... complete with the "Hora" and "Hava Nagila." 28 years delayed, but better late than never. Mazel, Tiff!!!

Figure Skater Anton Shulepov Ripped for Holocaust Costume ... 'Insensitive, Offensive'

Breaking News
Getty

File Under: "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"

A Russian figure skater wore an Auschwitz-themed costume during a November competition -- while skating to music from "Schindler's List" -- and now people are FURIOUS!!!

The skater is 23-year-old Anton Shulepov -- who competed in the costume during his free skating performance at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating event ... a prestigious tournament featuring top skaters from all over the world, including Israel.

Of course, the outfit contains imagery from Nazi concentration camps -- including the yellow star they forced Jews to wear ... and other elements of a Nazi prison guard uniform.

If the outfit isn't offensive enough, things got WORSE this week, when it appeared on a Best Costume list provided by the International Skating Union ... a contest that allows fans to vote on their favorite outfits.

The ISU has since removed the costume from the list -- insisting it meant to feature Shulepov's costume from his "Short Program" routine, a plain blue outfit.

The Anti-Defamation League has obviously condemned the costume AND the ISU for including it on the list in a statement from CEO Jonathan A Greenblatt.

"While we understand the need for skaters to be creative in their choice of costumes, Anton Shulepov’s apparent decision to evoke painful Holocaust imagery as part of his routine was insensitive and offensive."

"We are surprised that the International Skating Union initially posted a picture of this costume as a nominee for ‘costume of the year.’ Yellow Stars of David or other concentration camp imagery have no place in figure skating."

FYI, Shulepov reportedly finished LAST in the skating competition.

Transgender Singer Kim Petras Shows Westboro Baptist Her Ass ... Trolls Hateful Church, In Person This Time

Kim Petras is sticking it to the Westboro Baptist Church once again, but this time ... she's her own walking billboard.

The transgender singer made her way to Kansas City, Missouri Sunday night for a show planned months ago. We're told WBC members set up shop outside the concert, picketing with hateful messages, and Kim decided to step out and show them what's up.

HATERS GONNA HATE

Kim shared a photo and video of the scene along with an update -- "hoes still mad ..."

The post is being flooded with comments calling her legendary and a genius, and Katy Perry commented with just one word ... "icon."

We broke the story ... billboards for Petras -- whose songs have been blowing up in the LGBTQ+ community lately -- began popping up last month all over Topeka, Kansas last month, near the headquarters of the hate-mongering church.

AWESOME SURPRISE
TMZ.com

Kim told us she enjoys razzing the homophobic folks at Westboro Baptist, even if she didn't know for certain who was responsible for the billboards.

There's no doubt who's responsible for the latest expert troll job, though ... well done!

Montell Jordan I Believe Kanye's a True Christian ... Faith, This is How We Do It

Exclusive
NOT AN EASY JOURNEY
TMZ.com

Montell Jordan says he sees Kanye West walking the walk when it comes to declaring his Christian faith -- which is enough for him to believe what's in Ye's heart ... aka, Jesus.

The former R&B singer turned minister spoke to us in NYC about Ye's spiritual journey, and while some have questioned Kanye's motives and sincerity in turning to God ... Montell says he's taking the guy at his word (and his actions) that he's embraced Christ as his savior.

SERVING GOD AND THE INNOCENT
TMZ.com

He's got a pretty good reason for that too -- noting that there's no true way to know what's in Ye's heart. But, based on outward appearances, it sounds like Montell's convinced.

Of course, Kanye's been on a performance tear lately ... going around the country with his choir collective and doing Sunday Services. He even brought it to Joel Osteen's church. He has also been fairly outspoken about declaring his love and devotion for God and JC.

Still, many have remained speculative as to whether Ye's a true blue religious guy -- considering his background ... and all the ups and downs that have come with it.

YE AT LAKEWOOD
Lakewood Church

MJ touches on that too, explaining that society often judges people (especially artists) on their immediate past, despite what that person may be putting out now. He definitely knows a thing or two about it -- once upon a time, Montell was a walking one-man party.

Montell also gets into whether Ye's political beliefs have clouded his religious path. He doesn't seem to think so, 'cause Kanye has said the magic words ... for Christians, anyway.

Louis C.K. Tells Jewish Audience I'd Rather Be in Auschwitz Than NYC

Louis C.K. rolled the dice in front of a Jewish audience with what many might consider an incredibly insensitive joke ... but it sounds like it paid off for the guy.

The comedian was performing a stand-up show Thursday near Tel Aviv, and in front of a reportedly packed house of predominantly Jewish citizens ... he cracked, "I'd rather be in Auschwitz than New York City," adding a caveat ... "I mean now, not when it was open."

For the record, Louis is part Jewish on his father's side. And, besides that, he also got a big laugh out of the crowd, according to reports. In other words, the joke landed.

A bit of context, Louis was reportedly talking about how rough it's been for him in NYC in the wake of his 2017 #MeToo scandal -- in which he admitted to years of sexual misconduct -- notably, masturbating in front of women and abusing his power in the comedy world.

The fallout for him was pretty swift and fierce -- his movie "I Love You, Daddy" got yanked from its scheduled release, and Louis went into seclusion for a while before attempting a comeback -- which has been hit or miss, but mostly miss in the court of public opinion.

6/24/19
... AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!
TMZ.com

On the Auschwitz joke, he was complaining about the scrutiny he receives nowadays in the city he once loved and called home, which he seems to think has gotten too PC. At one point in his set, he joked about how he gets flipped off randomly at diners and on the street.

Louis is finishing his international tour with a few shows in Slovakia and Hungary, and then coming back to the states in 2020. For now, no shows in New York are scheduled.

Kanye West Opera at Hollywood Bowl ... Doesn't Appear on Stage, Plays Narrator

OPERA KING
TMZ.com

7:52 PM PT -- The opera just wrapped, and Kanye's audience didn't get a glimpse of Ye until the final bow. Instead, he played narrator for the show from behind the scenes. As you can see, the visuals were stunning, with the most attention on Kanye's choir. We're told Brad Pitt was among the celebs in attendance.

SplashNews.com

Kanye West's opera, Nebuchadnezzar, is officially underway at the Hollywood Bowl -- and based on what we can see so far ... it's pretty epic.

Ye's got his Sunday Service choir collective gathered at the Bowl, as well as singer Peter Collins and the music group Infinity's Song on hand ... who are expected to be part of the performance. Longtime collaborator Vanessa Beecroft is directing the opera.

Early footage we got a hold of shows Kanye bringing the dialogue ... and it's a totally full house.

YE AT LAKEWOOD
Lakewood Church

This, of course, comes after Kanye and his choir put on a stupendous performance last week at Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston. That show went on for 2 plus hours, but there was never a dull moment. It also brought in a record number of viewers across the board.

Ye's opera is based on a biblical story of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar from the Book of Daniel. He's often remembered as the destroyer of Solomon's temple, who went on to hold Jews captive in the city after taking Jerusalem by siege.

Hefty stuff ... so it should make for some good operatic theater.

Kanye West Osteen Appearance Was Ratings Boon!!! ... Biggest Christian Event in Memory

Exclusive
TMZ/Gety Composite

Kanye West's appearance and performance at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church was one of the biggest Christian events in recent memory, with streaming numbers that shattered records.

Kanye's Sunday night service was broadcast across 4 Lakewood-related platforms on Facebook and YouTube with 4.17 million unique viewers total. We're told by comparison, Joel's Sunday morning service usually pulls between 700k and 1.3 million sets of eyeballs.

YE AT LAKEWOOD
Lakewood Church

The 4.17 million is certainly impressive, considering Kanye's appearance at Joel's service earlier in the day also amassed hundreds of thousands of viewers. It was also broadcast on SiriusXM radio and will hit television sets in the coming weeks.

People in Christian circles tell us the Kanye collab was one of the biggest faith-fueled events in recent history ... and the effects are still being felt around the community.

PULPIT PREACHIN'
TMZ.com

It's unclear if any future Ye appearances at Lakewood are currently in the works at this point, but considering how successful this first-go was ...  ya gotta imagine the powers that be are thinking about it.

Kim, Kanye & Joel Osteen Meet with Rodney Reed's Brother ... After Stay of Execution

Exclusive
Rodrick Reed

Kim Kardashian followed up her visit with Rodney Reed by coming face-to-face with his brother ... and then introducing him to the biggest stars in Houston.

The death row inmate's brother, Rodrick Reed, tells TMZ he got to meet Kim, Kanye and even Joel Osteen on Sunday at the Lakewood Church -- where Ye held a "Jesus Is King" performance that night with his choir.

Rodrick says he was brought backstage during Sunday's events and discussed his brother's case with Joel and the Wests. We're told Kanye said he still plans to visit Rodney, but needs to work out the legal kinks to make it happen.

Rodrick Reed

Rodney even got a shout-out from Kanye while he addressed the Lakewood congregation of more than 45,000 -- and, of course, Kim visited with him Friday in prison. Remember, she was with Rodney when word came in the Governor had granted a stay of execution.

Rodney was set to be executed Wednesday, but now the courts are gonna hear his case again -- so, he could be vindicated after 20 years in prison.

Rodrick Reed

His brother, Rodrick, told us he and Kim talked about how she became so passionate about Rodney's case, and she told him it was a Dr. Phil special that turned her on to it.

As for Joel -- Rodrick says the preacher told him he'd pray for Rodney. Rodrick added ... he's grateful Kim's giving his family a megaphone for their cause.

Transgender Singer Kim Petras I Didn't Put Billboards Up ... But I Love Razzing Westboro Baptist!!!

Exclusive
AWESOME SURPRISE
TMZ.com

Kim Petras has no clue who is responsible for placing those bombshell billboards right under the nose of a homophobic church ... but she loves sticking it to Westboro Baptist!!!

The transgender singer spoke to us Monday on "TMZ Live" after her mug started popping up on electronic billboards right down the street from the hatemongers' HQ in Topeka, Kansas ... and Kim says she's tickled by the fact folks at Westboro Baptist have to see her every day.

KSNT

While Kim is coy about who is ultimately behind the placement of ads purposefully directed at the infamously anti-LGBTQ church -- she has a few ideas -- the up-and-coming singer takes a stab at the campaign's endgame and tells us why the move fits her brand.

Kim fills us in on the statement she's hoping to make on behalf of the transgender community ... a message that goes beyond sassy billboards and music.

Kanye West Osteen Sunday Service ... Lots'O Covers, Late Ye Appearance

YE AT LAKEWOOD
Lakewood Church

7:52 PM PT -- Kanye's Sunday Service at the Lakewood Church is winding down, and it was quite a show that the choir/collective put on ... with a late-game surge from Ye himself.

The performance went on for 2-plus hours, and the choir did a bunch of covers, including some of Kanye's tracks -- past and present -- as well as some other classic songs they remixed into gospel songs ... some of which worked perfectly, while others came off a little weird.

For example ... the choir covered Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" -- which sounded just fine in a gospel setting. But, when they turned SWV's "Weak" into a spiritual song, it was awkward. One of the big highlights was when the choir did Destiny Child's "Say My Name" ... which translated pretty smoothly into a tune about calling God's name.

As we said, there wasn't much sign of Kanye being embedded into the performance to begin with, but he was certainly onstage and later did get on the mic for "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" and finished strong by rapping his verses from "Selah," "Follow God," "God Is" ... and a direct shout-out to Rodney Reed to boot. Ye even DJ'd and free-styled a bit too.

He definitely took the reins in the second half of the show, and got more and more and more into his element. He closed things out with "Jesus Walks" and "Closed on Sunday."

Joel Osteen got onstage to break up the music a bit, and shared several lessons about allowing God to guide oneself to greatness, despite haters along the way.

All in all, the Osteen/Kanye Sunday Service experience can go down in the books as a resounding success.

6:03 PM PT -- Kanye's Sunday Service has started, and it kicked off with a bang. A spoken word poet delivered a powerful message to open the show, and the rest of the choir took it the rest of the way ... first going in on an operatic chant, then moving on to cover 'Every Hour' from the 'JIK' album, as well 'Ultralight Beam' and eventually performing a part of 'Power.'

There's no sign of Kanye quite yet, but ya gotta imagine he's in the building ... 'cause Kim and the kids are down below in the front row. The crowd seems to be loving so far, BTW ... and as expected, it's a completely packed house.

Kanye West is about to perform his Sunday Service at Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston ... and TMZ is streaming it live.

As we previously mentioned ... Ye brought his choir out for the weekend trip, where they're set to take the stage at 7 PM CT (5 PM PT) at the Lakewood Church -- a place thousands of worshipers come out each week to hear Joel and co. preach from the pulpit.

It's bound to be a packed house again for Sunday's ticketed event, especially after Ye made an appearance in the morning ... standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Joel and talking God.

PULPIT PREACHIN'
TMZ.com

You'll recall ... it was an eventful chat Kanye and Joel had onstage, with Ye touching on everything from his own upbringing in the church, to how he's an employee of God's now, and even going to bat and defending Joel and his reputation in the Christian community.

Ever since Kanye dropped his new album, 'Jesus is King,' he's been performing pretty consistently with his choir ... playing a bunch of his new songs too, of course. The format thus far has been pretty similar in style to what we've seen in Calabasas and elsewhere.

But with such a big audience tuning in this time around -- and a just-announced opera on the horizon -- it'll be interesting to see what surprises Kanye and his team have in store for the Lakewood congregation.

Originally Published -- 4:30 PM PT

Kanye West Prison Reform's My Next Calling ... Declares So Next to Osteen

Exclusive
SERVING GOD AND THE INNOCENT
TMZ.com

12:19 PM PT -- We ran into Kanye and Joel after sharing the stage together, and asked Ye a pretty simple question ... what's next for him??? Check out the clip ... Kanye gives a pretty enlightening answer, telling us he's gonna let God decide the narrative of his next chapter.

When we pressed, asking what he envisions for himself as his next big challenge ... Kanye didn't hesitate and told us straight-up -- he wants to turn his attention to prison reform.

Ye gets pretty detailed about possible solutions that he thinks would have an immediate impact in helping poor folks -- who are often minorities -- stay out of jail unnecessarily.

We also asked if he was considering getting Joel on his next album. Watch ... doesn't sound like JO wants to hop on the mic, but Ye's not opposed to the idea.

10:23 AM PT -- Kanye West and Joel Osteen had quite the chat Sunday at the Lakewood Church in Houston -- and one of the big takeaways was Ye going to bat for Joel and his reputation in the Christian community.

The rapper-producer noted that Joel was responsible for converting thousands upon thousands of people to the right path of Christianity, and for that alone ... Ye said the guy should be more praised than criticized for everything he does in God's name.

They talked about a lot more too -- Ye touched on his upbringing in the church, explaining that he found going to Sunday service as a kid was pretty boring ... even though his parents were staunch believers, bringing the family to a megachurch in Chicago 3 times a week.

He also discussed his 2016 mental breakdown, and how after that ... he felt he needed to move away from most of the people in his inner circle because they weren't real Christians, and were simply yes men who were beholden to the almighty dollar.

Speaking of that, Kanye also pumped himself up a bit by saying that he was the greatest artist that God ever created ... and now, he was working for the man upstairs again -- instead of working for the devil, which he believes most of his contemporaries are doing now.

There was a lot more, but all in all ... it was a pretty moving interaction Ye and Joel shared onstage, with Ye coming across clearly and even ending on an uplifting prayer.

Kanye West's highly anticipated chitchat with Pastor Joel Osteen is about to go down at the Lakewood Church in Houston and we're live streaming the whole thing.

PULPIT PREACHIN'
TMZ.com

TMZ broke the story ... Kanye and Joel have been talking on the phone quite a bit since Ye committed himself to God, and it all resulted in Kanye and Kim making the trek to H-town this weekend.

We're told Kanye's gonna talk to Joel about his journey in rediscovering religion at 11 AM Central Time. There's another service Sunday night at 7 PM and that will feature Kanye's now-famous Sunday Service, complete with a choir of around 120 people. We'll also be live streaming that.

As we reported, Ticketmaster is doling out free tickets for the 7 PM service, but there have been problems with scalpers.

'TIS THE SEASON
TMZ.com

Kim's also in Houston and presumably will show up for the service at Lakewood. On Saturday Kim, Saint and North hit up an ice skating rink at The Galleria in Houston.

Originally Published -- 8:41 AM PT

Kanye West Appearance at Osteen's Lakewood Church ... Brings Out the Scalpers

Exclusive
TMZ/Getty

Kanye West's appearance at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston Sunday will be the most important appearance Ye has made since devoting himself to God, and there's such a demand for tickets we've learned scalpers have reared their ugly heads.

Kanye will have all eyes on him Sunday morning when he takes the stage with Joel Osteen -- which normally isn't an issue -- except this time, the crowd won't be full of Yeezy fans.

Kanye is set to take part in Joel's 11 AM ceremony at Lakewood Church Sunday and will chat with Joel for 20-30 mins about his religious journey. It'll mark the first time Kanye's talked about his religious transformation in front of a large audience -- 45,000 people!!!

Joel's 11 AM service will mostly be made up of his regular churchgoers, and not droves of Kanye fans like at Ye's Sunday Service ... so for Kanye, this is uncharted territory.

BACK TO CLASSICS
TMZ.com

Our sources say he's excited to share his message and journey with a room that not only includes Joel but those who have had their own religious awakenings.

As for the service Sunday night -- when Kanye's choir will perform -- we're told both Kanye and Joel's teams expect a crowd made up of mostly Yeezy faithful. TMZ broke the story ... Lakewood teamed up with Ticketmaster to coordinate ticket distribution.

Our sources say scalpers are already trying to mess things up. The tickets are free, but some have already been scooped up by people who just want to make a buck. We're told the tickets they have identified as being held by scalpers have been invalidated.

We're told Kanye will have his entire band and choir with him ... and Lakewood technical directors needed to expand the stage to help fit everyone.