Kanye West has divided the internet once again, this time over his controversial decision to wear a 'White Lives Matter' T-shirt at his Yeezy fashion show in Paris.
The musician turned fashion designer wore the shirt along with right-wing commentator Candace Owens, who was a guest at the show. Models walking on the catwalk also wore the 'White Lives Matter' shirt, although Naomi Campbell – who was appearing in the show – did not.
The phrase 'White Lives Matter' is problematic because it was created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 'White Lives Matter' is a "white supremacist phrase".
Understandably, Kanye's choice to wear the shirt did not go down well. Jaden Smith tweeted that he had left the show due to the "message" being put out, whilst many former Kanye fans took to social media to call him out. "Kanye west making Black models wear 'White Lives Matter' shirts is a culmination of his anti blackness and his immersion in white supremacy ideologies and methods. Disgusting," someone tweeted.
Kanye west making Black models wear “ white lives matter” shirts is a culmination of his anti blackness and his immersion in white supremacy ideologies and methods. Disgusting pic.twitter.com/yIaVKPYEBB
— ꧁༺ӄɛɛք ȶʀɨɢɢɛʀɨռɢ ʀǟƈɨֆȶֆ ʍɛɢɦǟռ༻꧂ (@Blu_Alexia_) October 3, 2022
"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," one person said in response to the move, with another tweeting: "Seeing Ye and Candace both in that shirt hurts my soul. Whatever nuance there was as part of his fashion show pales in comparison to seeing someone who is so politically destructive and reprehensible standing there with Ye, emblazoned with that phrase."
A fourth critic chimed into the conversation with, "Every three months Kanye SHOWS y’all and TELLS y’all he doesn’t care about the Black community and yet and still y’all be right there at Sunday Service buying every GI Joe boot and every piece of raggedy fabric he drops. SAD."
But this is not the first time that the 45-year-old – who legally changed his name to Ye last year – has made problematic statements about race. In 2018, he said 400 years of slavery in the US "sounds like a choice", although he later apologised for making the comment. The same year, he backed former US President Donald Trump and wore a controversial Make America Great Again cap on several occasions.
Kanye is yet to respond to the controversy.
Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to representatives of Kanye West for comment.
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