At a recent fashion show in Paris for his “Yeezy” clothing line, entertainer Kanye West introduced, among other pieces, a long-sleeved t-shirt that featured the words, “White Lives Matter” across the back.
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
Before the fashion show started, West said, “Everyone here knows that I am the leader … you can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation.” It was a reference to the fact that the show in Paris marked West’s “return to fashion” after abruptly ending his partnerships with both Gap and Adidas.
While West’s “fashion comeback” was meant to introduce his new fashion line, it has instead brought about rebukes and anger from many of his peers.
Diddy said, on an Instagram post, “I’ve always been there, and I will always support my brother Kanye as a freethinker. But the ‘White lives matter’ t-shirt, I don’t rock with it, you know what I’m saying? I’m not with it.”
Ahmaud Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said in a statement through her attorney, “As a result of his display, ‘White Lives Matter’ started trending in the U.S., which would direct support and legitimize extremist behavior, [much] like the behavior that took the life of her son. That is the thing that Wanda and families like hers continue to fight against.”
Even the Anti-Defamation League categorizes the phrase “White Lives Matter” as a “hate statement” because it reframes a phrase that was used, in their words, “to protest against brutality.”
According to entertainment news outlet TMZ, Kanye’s meaning behind the shirt is as simple as it gets, “They do matter.” He believes that White lives matter so he created and wears a shirt to say what he believes.