Kanye West, Candace Owens Spark Backlash After Wearing ‘White Lives Matter’ Sweatshirts

Kanye West, Candace Owens Spark Backlash After Wearing ‘White Lives Matter’ Sweatshirts
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France, on Jan. 23, 2022. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Rapper Kanye West attended his Yeezy Season 9 collection presentation in Paris, France, on Monday wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “White Lives Matter.”

The artist, also known as “Ye,” was joined by conservative commentator and author Candace Owens at the event, who also wore a matching T-shirt as West unveiled his latest clothing collection. Other models at the event were also wearing different variations of the same design, according to a report by Complex.

Owens later took to Twitter to share images of the T-shirt, which featured the late Pope John Paul II on the front along with the words “White Lives Matter” in large writing on the back.

West’s T-shirts prompted a quick reaction on social media, including from rapper Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, who was in attendance at the event.

The younger Smith took to Twitter to explain that he had left the event after seeing the T-shirts, writing, “I Don’t Care Who’s It Is If I Don’t Feel The Message I’m Out,” before adding that “Black Lives Matter.”

Temple University professor and BET host Marc Lamont Hill called West’s decision to wear the T-shirt “disgusting, dangerous, and irresponsible,” before stating that those who rush to defend West should “ask yourselves why.”

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Candace Owens speaks at the Black Leadership Summit at the White House in Washington, on Oct. 4, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

‘We Don’t Need a Reminder of the Worth of White Lives’

Elsewhere, producer and media personality Van Lathan wrote on Instagram: “We don’t need a reminder of the worth of white lives. America is a shrine to the worth of white people. This message is reactionary to a message affirming the worth of Black lives, which have never been worth anything in America.”

“In its intent, it’s a white supremacist notion, because it posits that we can’t have a conversation about the worth of Black people without having a conversation about the worth of white people, which is [expletive] insane,” Lathan wrote. “The notion that it ALWAYS has to be about white people in America is incredibly frustrating, emotionally draining, and the whole problem. But here’s Kanye, apparently centering that notion.”

The phrase “white lives matter” originated in 2015 as a response to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which protested the deaths of black men at the hands of police. In 2020, BLM protests often turned violent with mobs vandalizing property and police vehicles.

The Anti-Defamation League states that it is a “white supremacist phrase” that has been used by groups including the Ku Klux Klan.

West is no stranger to attracting criticism, having previously prompted a backlash among the black community in 2018 when he stated that “slavery was a choice,” although he later apologized for the comment.

In 2020, West donated $2 million to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, with part of the money going toward the education of Floyd’s daughter.

West has also been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and told WSJ Magazine in a 2020 interview that he had been heavily criticized for publicizing his support for him.

“I’m a black guy with a red [MAGA] hat, can you imagine? … It reminded me of how I felt as a black guy before I was famous when I would walk in a restaurant and people would look at you like you were going to steal something,” he said. “‘This is your place, Ye, don’t talk about apparel. This is your place, Ye, you’re black, so you’re a Democrat.'”

West himself ran a failed White House bid himself in 2020. The artist, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016, hinted on Sept. 21 in an interview with “Good Morning America” that he may try to run again in the future.

From The Epoch Times

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