Kanye West is a lightning rod. Perhaps even more so than a musician these days.
To wit, the artist, who now often goes by just Ye, wore a t-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter” at a recent fashion show, riffing on—and some might say bastardizing—a political slogan, Black Lives Matter, which was created to highlight the plight of Black Americans in the United States.
West wore the shirt, which showed his new slogan on the back of the shirt, at the recent YZY SZN 9 presentation in Paris on Monday (October 3).
To complement the shirt, West, ever the contrarian these days, also wore a pair of diamond-studded flip-flops. He was seen wearing his likely-to-be-controversial shirt early in the livestream of the show.
Several models in the show were also seen wearing similar shirts.
Of course, the slogan is accurate, in that white lives, like Black lives, matter. Just as, really, all lives matter. But the surface meaning of the words is not what will rankle folks. It’s the deeper, more nuanced implications that will annoy followers, given that the Black Lives Matter movement is not about those three words. Rather, it’s an umbrella phrase meant to shine a light on racial injustices Black Americans have been enduring for countless years. Injustices, presumably, West himself endured throughout his life.
Perhaps, West is aiming to highlight the plight of some white Americans, too. Or, maybe, he’s just trying to get more eyeballs after recent headlines about his breakup with his former wife, Kim Kardashian, her new now-ex-beau Pete Davidson, and West’s recent split from The Gap to create his own “castle.” Really, as with most things West these days, who knows?
West has long been associated with far-right politics, showing support for then-President Trump during his presidency. It seems a far cry from West’s post-Hurricane Katrina quote of then-Republican President George W. Bush, who West said after the storm that Bush “doesn’t care about Black people.”
Far-right political pendant Candace Owens, who is Black, was also in attendance and seen wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt, presumably in support of West. Perhaps the contrarian and conspiracy theorists and NBA star Kyrie Irving is next?
Political writer, Jemele Hill took to Twitter to share her thoughts on Kanye’s choice of wardrobe.
“So many folks are trying to excuse Kanye wearing a white lives matter t-shirt as just a troll move or marketing. Maybe it is. But it’s a dangerously dumb message to send for someone with his massive platform. I been off dude. But y’all go ahead labeling his foolishness as genius.”
See her Tweet below and let us know what you think of Kanye’s latest stunt. Comment below.
Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images