Kanye West has responded to backlash over him wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt this week by declaring: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam.”
The rapper has doubled down on his views, writing on his Instagram Stories today (October 4) that the Black Lives Matter movement “was a scam”. He added: “Now it’s over…you’re welcome”.
Ye wore a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” emblazoned on the back yesterday (October 3) at at live-streamed presentation of his latest Yeezy fashion line. It followed him making his catwalk debut at Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion Week show over the weekend.
As Rolling Stone pointed out, the phrase – an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan used to protest racial injustice, discrimination and police brutality – has been adopted by white supremacist organisations in recent years. It’s categorised by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan.
Kanye West and Candace Owens wearing “White Lives Matter” shirts at his fashion show in Paris. pic.twitter.com/eJekZ8cGhe
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 3, 2022
While at the event West was photographed standing next to conservative Black commentator Candace Owens, who has been vocally critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. She was also wearing a shirt with the words “White Lives Matter” on the back.
After photos emerged from the event, artists including Jaden Smith and Boosie responded to West’s controversial choice of attire. The former shared a series of tweets explaining that he left West’s event because he didn’t “feel the message”, declaring that “Black Lives Matter” and “True Leaders Lead”.
Black Lives Matter
— Jaden (@jaden) October 3, 2022
In a sternly worded Tweet of his own, too, Boosie wrote: “AFTER ALL WE BEEN THROUGH AS A RACE YOU PUT THIS DISRESPECTFUL SHIT ON. U GIVES NO FUCKS ABOUT HOW BLACKS HAVE DIED N SUFFERED TO THE HANDS OF THE WHITE MAN. N U SAY BUSH DONT LIKE BLACK PEOPLE.. REALLY ‘N****’.”
West has a long history of making controversial statements when it comes to politics and race in recent years, particularly in 2018. That year, he voiced his support for Donald Trump (publicly wearing the campaign’s red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat on several occasions) and endorsed Owens on Twitter.
West also drew backlash in April 2018 when he claimed, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” A few months later, in August of that year, West apologised for both his comments around slavery and his choice to wear the MAGA hat.