Black Lives Matter Responds To Kanye West Over White Lives Matter Shirt

Black Lives Matter has issued a statement in response to Kanye West wearing 'White Lives Matter' shirts at his Paris fashion show.
Credit: Alamy & @RealCandaceO/Twitter

Black Lives Matter has issued a statement in response to Kanye West wearing a ‘racist’ White Lives Matter shirt.

The rapper debuted the piece of clothing at his Yeezy Season 9 fashion show in Paris.

However, it has since been met with backlash, with the Black Lives Matter organisation sending a letter to TMZ, in which they’ve stated it ‘harms families fighting for justice’.

The statement adds: “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.

“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.”

Watch Kanye West claim GAP ripped off his Balenciaga fashion designs below…

The artist — who legally changed his name to Ye — sparked controversy with the shirt and its controversial statement, which is considered a ‘hate slogan’ by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL explains on its website: “‘White Lives Matter’ is a white supremacist phrase that originated in early 2015 as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which arose to protest against police brutality against African-Americans.”

Jaden Smith has also slammed West over the offensive shirt.

The ‘Icon’ rapper, who has previously publicly supported the ‘Stronger’ artist, hit out at him in a thread on Twitter, despite being in attendance at the event.

He started by saying ‘I Had To Dip Lol’ before immediately adding ‘True Leaders Lead’.

Smith then followed up with a tweet stating: “I Don’t Care Who’s It Is If I Don’t Feel The Message I’m Out,” and then continued to share ‘Black Lives Matter’.

The Karate Kid actor also posted: “I Can’t Stand Behind What Kanye’s Saying, He Does Not Have The Full Support Of The Youth.”

However, that last tweet has since been deleted.

Smith had previously been a vocal supporter of West, going as far as calling him a genius and endorsing him for president.

Related Article: Kanye West’s ‘Addiction’ Left Family ‘Destroyed’

However, Smith isn’t the only musician to be unhappy with West’s latest fashion design choice, with rapper Boosie BadAzz also slamming the musician and fashion designer on Twitter.

He posted: “After all, we been through as a race you put this disrespectful s*** on. 

“You give no f**** about how Blacks have died and suffered to the hand of the white man. 

“And you say [President] Bush don’t like Black people.”

However, West did provide an explanation as to why his new shirts have ‘White Lives Matter’ printed on them.

In an Instagram story, he wrote: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam.

“Now it’s over. You’re welcome.”

Right-wing commentator Candace Owens was also in attendance at the Paris show and shared a photo of her and West wearing the shirt.

Candace Owen and Kanye West.
Candace Owen stood next to Kanye West wearing the ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts. Credit: @RealCandaceO/Twitter

Despite West’s explanation, the shirts have continued to be the subject of backlash.

Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill shared on social media: “Kanye West decision to wear a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt is disgusting, dangerous, and irresponsible. Some of y’all will rush to defend him. You should ask yourselves why…”

Jemele Hill, the host of The Atlantic podcast also tweeted: “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 labelling his foolishness as genius.”

Related Article: Jaden Smith Slammed For ‘Cringe’ Comments About Parents

Meanwhile, an article published by Dazed said the shirts were ‘incredibly harmful’ and West had gone ‘way too far’.

The news piece reads: “However, with or without context, the “White Lives Matter” message is irrefutably harmful and Kanye’s inclusion of the statement is completely irresponsible.

“In emblazoning a T-shirt that he has designed ‘for everyone’ with something that has been classified by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan, Kanye has co-signed a harmful rhetoric.”

While there has been a lot of coverage surrounding the fashion show, the same article in Dazed has criticised the event, describing there to be ‘chaos’ all around the venue and fans having to wait ‘almost two hours for anything to happen’.

Watch our Video of the Day below…

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.