September 20, 2018

Here’s What You Need to Know About Lil Uzi Vert’s Use of the Heaven’s Gate Cult Imagery

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Here’s What You Need to Know About Lil Uzi Vert’s Use of the Heaven’s Gate Cult Imagery

Lil Uzi Vert posted the artwork in early August for his upcoming project, Eternal Atake, which included a reference to the infamous Heaven’s Gate Cult. The post has been removed from all his social media accounts since, and many speculate this is because the Telah Foundation (made up of surviving Heaven’s Gate members) said they were planning to take legal action against Lil Uzi because of copyright infringement.

However, just this week, Lil Uzi Vert gave the world yet another release with artwork inspired by the cult, this time for his new track “New Patek.” Predictably, the remaining members are threatening to take legal action.

“Our attorneys are working with him on direct and clear infringement of trademarks, copyrights and use of logo,” the members told Page Six via email. “We are also dealing with expressions of ‘Fair Use’ which is cited when this kind of image is displayed. The artist has to be careful to not make full use of the spirit and meaning of the Group while altering images of it to make it look like he isn’t infringing.”



Heaven’s Gate is a California-based UFO religious millenarian cult founded in 1974. The group is arguably most known for organizing and committing a mass suicide in 1997, and the event was highly-publicized and shocked the world. Among many other beliefs, Heaven’s Gate members believe in extraterrestrials (both good aliens and evil aliens) and that the only way to enter the Next Level is to leave the planet Earth and shed all human-like characteristics. This is what led to the mass suicide committed by the members, who were dressed in Nike sneakers and purple shrouds, an image that is remembered by many and referenced in pop culture, such as in “Heaven’s Gate” by Fall Out Boy and the music video Frank Ocean’s “Nikes.”

In a recent interview with Genius, Dr. Benjamin Zeller explained a bit more about the Heaven’s Gate cult, its interesting yet tragic story, and its tie to pop culture. “From an outsider’s perspective, it’s this weird mix of science fiction, technology, Christian millennialism, and apocalypticism and UFO studies,” he told Genius. “If you haven’t studied the group, it doesn’t make much sense when you first look at it.”

It’s unlikely that this will be the last time we see another Heaven’s Gate reference in pop culture. However, it is important to understand that there is value in learning about things we don’t understand before forming judgements.

Listen to the new Lil Uzi track “New Patek” below.