Kanye West Wears “White Lives Matter” Shirt at Fashion Presentation

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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

One Comment

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  1. The political bias written here is so obvious a child can see it. Instead of writing about “Songwriting”, Songwriter has transformed itself in yet another “woke” magazine preaching to us the “Wokeness” as though we are not smart enough to think for ourselves. This is not the first article I read from Songwriter where this kind of woke rhetoric is the main focus rather than musical art form. I have had enough of it.

    The phrase “FAR RIGHT” has never been used as a title for so many people before. Just because people do not agree with your woke bias (and yes I can assume that based on this infantile article written by someone that has obviously gotten their data from the latest Twitter outrage) does not make them all FAR RIGHT!

    I have cancelled my subscription and I know a few others that will not be renewing due to the direction Songwriter has increasingly been taking. We want to hear about songwriting not about what West has on his flipflops at a Paris fashion show.

    You have allowed the thought pollution of political bias and condescending attitude ruin an otherwise fine publication. But then again this infestation seems to be a more harmful pandemic than Covid itself.

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