Kanye West shocked fans by wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt to his surprise Yeezy show on Monday (October 4th) and declared the organization a scam.
BLM has issued a terse response to Ye over the controversial fashion show and his comments that the BLM movement was “over.”
Before the spectacle staged as part of Paris Fashion Week, the rapper/designer addressed the crowd wearing a black sweater with the controversial slogan emblazoned across the back.
The front of the garment featured an image of Pope John Paul II and the words “Seguiremos Tu Ejemplo,” or “We Will Follow Your Example.” Kanye spoke about his struggles within the fashion industry, his exit from his Gap deal, his former manager Scooter Braun, and the robbery of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s hotel room back in 2016 during his speech.
“I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader. You can’t manage me,” he commented in a video circulating online. In addition, conservative commentator Candace Owens posted a photo of herself and the star posing in the same shirt to her Twitter page.
Kanye did not clarify why he chose to wear the top, as White Lives Matter is a white supremacist phrase that originated as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement.
BLM called the “stunt a clear affront to Black Lives Matter, which has been measured as the largest racial justice movement in history.”
“Black models walked the runway wearing the same slogan. ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘White Lives Matter’ have long served as violent retorts to the Black Lives Matter movement, used by white supremacists and hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.”
BLM said they hoped to use Kanye and Candace Owens’ attempt to “kill the Black Lives Matter” movement as a teachable moment and to educate him politically.
“While some may see Kanye and Candace’s stunt as a distraction, we
recognize that it harms thousands of families fighting for justice for their loved ones killed by state sanctioned violence. It can spread toxic confusion and be used to legitimize violent assaults on Black people. Battling misinformation while continuing to do the hard that liberation requires is nothing new for us,” BLM said.
The “Stronger” star has caused controversy with his outfit choices in the past, including the “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, cap he wore to pledge support to former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018.
And speaking to Vogue before the show, Kanye hinted at the theme he wanted to explore with the collection.
“There’s just people. From the same planet. And sometimes, in high school, it feels like we don’t fit in. And in a situation like this, we have the opportunity to come together to express who we are,” the 45-year-old added.
Read their complete response to Kanye’s “White Lives Matter” controversy below:
Los Angeles, CA – On Monday, Kanye West and Candace Owens wore shirts emblazoned with
the words ‘White Lives Matter’ at the YZY Season 9 Presentation in Paris.
The stunt was a clear affront to Black Lives Matter, which has been measured as the largest racial justice movement in history. Black models walked the runway wearing the same slogan. ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘White Lives Matter’ have long served as violent retorts to the Black Lives Matter movement, used by white supremacists and hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.
In a follow-up statement, Kanye was clear that he intended to kill the Black Lives Matter
movement. Black Lives Matter Grassroots sees this as a teachable moment. Political education is
core to what we do. While some may see Kanye and Candace’s stunt as a distraction, we
recognize that it harms thousands of families fighting for justice for their loved ones killed by statesanctioned violence. It can spread toxic confusion and be used to legitimize violent assaults on
Battling misinformation while continuing to do the hard that liberation requires is
nothing new for us.
Black Lives Matter was birthed in 2013 in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the
murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The boots-on-the-ground have always been everyday
people committed to ending state-sanctioned violence against Black people. We took to the
streets, demanded policy change, shifted narratives, and built a mass movement – then and now –
to build a world where all of our people can live and walk freely.
Kanye West and Candace Owens sent a performative dog whistle to millions. Kanye knows
very well that ‘white lives’ have never been targeted for oppression. Black folks, in contrast,
are at the bottom of virtually every economic, social, and political measure because of
centuries of individual and institutional racism. Building a world of Black freedom means
upending systems that harm and building new systems of care. Ultimately this benefits
everyone. When Black people get free, everybody gets free.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, Director of Black Lives Matter Grassroots, is also a professor of PanAfrican Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She teaches a free, open, online
Black Power class and invited Kanye and Candace to join to deepen their understanding.
“We invite them into courageous conversation on race, racism, and why we say ‘Black Lives
The mission of Black Lives Matter Grassroots (BLMGR) is to support, sustain, and uplift the
necessary agitations, mobilizations, community organizing, and initiatives of Black Lives Matter
chapters to fulfill our sacred duty to advance Black liberation. #BlackLivesMatter was birthed to
end state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Black Lives Matter Grassroots is a collective
of 26 chartered chapters globally working on the ground since 2013.
Black Lives Matter Grassroots