‘White Lives Matter’ shirt worn by Kanye West and Candace Owens
During his impromptu Yeezy Season 9 fashion show in Paris on Monday, Kanye West, conservative commentator Candace Owens, and at least one model could be seen wearing shirts with “White Lives Matter” emblazoned on the back.
West, wearing the T-shirt, spoke before the night’s runway section began, touching on a number of themes without elaborating on or drawing attention to his usage of the “White Lives Matter” slogan. In 2013, in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, the term “All Lives Matter” gained popularity among white supremacist groups and far-right organizations.
West has made similar fashion statements in the past; memorably adopting Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” during his ill-fated 2020 presidential race. Just like that occurrence, many fans are chalking West’s political message on the runway as PR for the show, while members of the far-right are taking the attention as their own.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, West called the criticism of his MAGA hat “classist,” explaining that he felt the anger was tied to the high standards Americans set for him because of his race and hometown of Chicago. “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. ‘This is your place, Ye, don’t talk about apparel. This is your place, Ye, you’re Black, so you’re a Democrat.’”
West’s daughter North modeled an all-black costume and a choir of children, rumored to be from West’s Donda Academy, sang during other parts of the presentation.