At his fashion show in Paris on Monday, Kanye “Ye” West wore a T-shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” on the back. Next to him was conservative commentator Candace Owens, who was wearing the same blank T-shirt.
The rapper, who officially changed his name to Ye earlier this year, wore the shirt at a fashion show for his brand YZY. According to Complex, the models also wore the “White Lives Matter” t-shirts during the parade.
The phrase “White Lives Matter” emerged as “racist speech.” response to the Black Lives Matter movement” in 2015, and has been adopted and promoted by white supremacist groups and supporters, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
West and Owens not only showed their support for White Lives Matter, but also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement. After Monday’s fashion show, Owens posted photos of her outfit on her Instagram story. One post appeared to be a screenshot of a story from West’s account, which read: “Everyone knows Black Lives Matter was a scam, now it’s over, you’re welcome.” The story is no longer on West’s account.
Black Lives Matter gained national attention after the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a black teenager who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. He grew up on a global scale andafter the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The Black Lives Matter movement is meant to “dismantle a system that was designed to criminalize Black people, that was designed to criminalize the poor and people of color and other oppressed people,” said one of its founders, Alicia Garza.
Many activists condemned West’s shirt and comments. Marc Lamont Hill, activist, author and teacher, tweeted that West’s “decision to wear a ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt is disgusting, dangerous and irresponsible.”
Professor and political commentator wendy osfo said what West is doing “is not only intellectually dishonest, it is irresponsible and borderline dangerous.”
Journalist Jemele Hill said While the shirt may be “a troll or marketing move,” it is a “dangerously dumb message to send someone with your massive platform.”
Hannah Gais, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, said in a statement to CBS News that both West and Owens “have a propensity for high-profile stunts designed to troll liberals.” . and that her “use of popular rhetoric among some in the racist fringe demonstrates that these slogans can be normalized and become part of the broader right-wing vernacular through repetition.”
Although some of West’s past songs shed light on racism and the mistreatment of black people, he has come under fire for some of his statements in recent years. During awith TMZ, West said slavery wasn’t real. He too for meeting then-President Donald Trump several times and wearing a hat that said “Make America Great Again.”