Kanye West debuted his Yeezy Season 9 collection during a surprise Paris Fashion Week show on Monday night (October 3), but started trending online when he was spotted wearing a “White Lives Matter” long sleeve shirt decorated on the back.
Not only was the rapper-turned-designer wearing the phrase on his shirt, so were some of the models in the show. Ye went on to pose with conservative commentator Candace Owens in matching “White Lives Matter” shirts.
While the “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” rapper’s reasoning behind wearing the shirt is currently unknown, the racist phrase was widely adopted for years by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The fiber and integrity on which our nation was founded is being unraveled… [by] homosexuality and [racially] mix[ed] relations,” the former WLM website used to read before it was taken down, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. “Illegal immigration, health care, housing, welfare, employment, education, social security, our children, our veterans and active duty military and their rights … are the issues we face as white Americans. The current laws and immoral orders [Obama] administration is passing, is drastically … targeting everything the white lifestyle holds dear.”
In response to Ye’s shirt, Twitter users began flooding the platform with disapproval for his insensitive choice, especially considering he is a black man. See below for reactions, including some from other artists including Boosie BadAzz and Jaden Smith.