On Monday, Kanye West showcased his new Yeezy line at a YZY SZN 9 presentation in Paris. His choice of clothing? A longsleeved “White Lives Matter” shirt.
The live-streamed event saw the musician wearing the t-shirt as he laid back and recorded children (seemingly from his Donda Academy, along with his daughter North) walking around in a circle in all-black as they sang “You make forever.”
Oh, and conservative pundit Candace Owens even posed for a photo with West wearing a matching shirt with the slogan. White supremacists — such as the KKK and the Aryan Renaissance Society — have overtaken the “Black Lives Matter” phrase used by Black people protesting police brutality and reframed it. The Anti-Defamation League has categorised the phrase as a hate slogan.
According to Complex, several of the models from the YZY show also wore designs that featured the slogan on the runway, including a white long-sleeved shirt with the words “WHITE LIVES MATTER” printed on the back.
While it’s unclear what message (if any) West was trying to make with his latest fashion choice, the rapper has been no stranger to controversy in the past few years — particularly when it comes to his political beliefs. He pledged his support for Donald Trump in 2018 and ran for president himself in 2020.
And when it comes to race relations, West previously drew tremendous ire for his 2018 flippant comments about the history of American slavery, in which he claimed it was a “choice.” “When you hear about slavery for 400 years: For 400 years, that sounds like a choice,” West said. “You was there for 400 years,” he added, “And it’s all of y’all?”
About the time he stood behind Trump, he told Jimmy Kimmel in 2018, “Just as a musician, African-American, a guy living out in Hollywood, everyone around me tried to pick my candidate for me. And then told me every time that I said I liked Trump that I couldn’t say that out loud or my career would be over.”
“It took me a year and a half to have the confidence to stand up and put on the hat, no matter what the consequences.