West has faced significant backlash for wearing a shirt with the phrase – an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan used to protest racial injustice, discrimination and police brutality – along with models who walked at the show, and conservative pundit Candace Owens.
Now, Diddy has taken to Instagram in response to West’s attire, disagreeing with its message. Diddy – who collaborated with West on Ty Dolla $ign’s 2015 song ‘Guard Down’ – begins the video by defending West as a “freethinker”, saying that he “will always support [his] brother,” but said of West’s stunt: “I don’t rock with it. I’m not with it.”
Diddy continued: “What the press and what fashion is doing, thinking this is a joke, when right now, all America has planned for us is poverty, incarceration and death. So, before I can get to any other lives matter, which, all lives matter, you know what I’m saying? That Black Lives Matter, don’t play with it.”
He concluded: “Don’t wear the shirt, don’t buy the shirt, don’t play with the shirt. It’s not a joke.” Diddy’s comments echo those he made during an appearance on The Breakfast Club podcast on Wednesday (October 5). The rapper again deemed West a “super free thinker” whose intentions are often “misconstrued”, before criticising the t-shirt as “very tone-deaf”.
“[‘Black Lives Matter’] was our slogan,” Diddy said, “That wasn’t our slogan to go share with nobody else… You have to be unapologetically Black and love your people and love your tribe first.”
Diddy is the latest figure to criticise West for his actions this week. Fellow artists Jaden Smith and Boosie Badazz, and the family of police brutality victim Ahmaud Arbery were among those who responded to West’s fashion show, as well as Vogue fashion editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson.
In the days since the fashion show, West has doubled down on his sentiment, most recently reiterating his position yesterday (October 6) via his Instagram stories. “Here’s my latest response when people ask me why I made a tee that says white lives matter,” he wrote, “THEY DO.” Prior to that, West wrote on Instagram that the Black Lives Matter movement “was a scam”.