Kanye West pays tribute to Virgil Abloh with Sunday Service cover of Adele’s Easy on Me

Abloh and West worked together extensively over the years

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 29 November 2021 09:40
Virgil Abloh talks about his roots and his early-life passion

Kanye West led a music tribute to Virgil Abloh with his Sunday Service choir, following news of the designer’s death from cancer, aged 41.

The US artist, who legally changed his name to Ye last month, posted a link to the livestreamed performance on his Instagram Stories, shortly after it was announced that Abloh had died.

The livestream showed grainy footage of the choir apparently performing in near-darkness, with an audience in attendance and West conducting as children ran around the large event space.

Included in the set was a cover of Drake’s track “God’s Plan”, and Adele’s recent single “Easy on Me”.

In the reworked version, the choir sang: “Go easy on me, father/ I am still your child/ And I need the chance to/ Feel your love around” in the chorus.

At the end of the performance, text posted to the screen said: “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda.”

West and Abloh worked extensively together over the years, with Abloh serving as a creative director for West’s albums including My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus.

Both from Illinois, they first began working together in 2002, according to Vogue, when they interned at Fendi in Rome.

Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke told The New York Times: “I was really impressed with how [Abloh and West] brought a whole new vibe to the studio and were disruptive in the best way. Virgil could create a metaphor and a new vocabulary to describe something as old-school as Fendi. I have been following his career ever since.”

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Abloh assumed the role of creative director at West’s agency, Donda, in 2010. He served as art director for Watch the Throne, West’s collaboration with Jay-Z, which earnt him a Grammy nomination.

Abloh was known for bringing music and fashion together, and was namechecked in dozens of songs by some of the world’s biggest rappers.

In a moving tribute posted to his Instagram Stories, Frank Ocean recalled how Abloh had inspired his younger brother, who died in a car crash last year, to become a fashion designer himself.

“When my brother passed I never said anything because it was way too much but he loved you and really looked up to you. He was going to fashion school and everything. He wanted to be a designer,” Ocean said.

“I know grief is love that you don’t get to express so this is an attempt at expressing it. Love you V. You’re a hero.”

Read more tributes to Abloh here.

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