At his fashion show in Paris on Monday, Kanye “Ye” West wore a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” on the back. He was joined by conservative commentator Candace Owens, who wore the same shirt in white.
The rapper, who officially changed his name to Ye earlier this year, wore the shirt to a fashion show for his YZY brand. According to Complex, the models also wore the “White Lives Matter” shirts during the show.
The phrase “White Lives Matter” originated as “racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement” in 2015, and has been adopted and promoted by white supremacist groups and advocates, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
West and Owens not only showed support for White Lives Matter, but were also critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. After Monday’s fashion show, Owens posted photos of her outfit to 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, welcome back.” The story is no longer on West’s account.
Black Lives Matter gained national attention following the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a black teenager who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. It grew on a global scale and received widespread attention following the 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The Black Lives Matter movement aims 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,” one of its founders, Alicia Garza. he told CBS News in 2020.
Many activists condemned the shirt and West’s comments. Marc Lamont Hill, activist, author and professor, he tweeted that West’s “decision to wear a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt is disgusting, dangerous and irresponsible.”
Professor and political commentator Wendy Osefo said what West is doing “is not only intellectually dishonest, it’s irresponsible and borderline dangerous.”
Journalist Jemele Hill he said While the shirt may be “a troll or marketing move,” it’s a “dangerously stupid message to send to someone with their 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 penchant for high-profile stunts designed to troll liberals.” . and that “the use of rhetoric popular among some on the racist fringe shows that these slogans can be normalized and become part of the wider right-wing vernacular through repetition.”
Although some of West’s earlier songs have shed light on racism and the mistreatment of Black people, he has come under fire for some of his statements in recent years. During one Interview 2018 with TMZ, West said the slavery wasn’t real. He too made headlines in 2018 because he met with then-President Donald Trump multiple times and wore a “Make America Great Again” hat.