Kanye West debuted his Yeezy Season 9 collection during a surprise Paris Fashion Week show on Monday evening (Oct. 3), but began trending online when he was seen wearing a long-sleeved shirt with “White Lives Matter” emblazoned on the back.
Not only was the 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 “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 our nation was founded on is being unraveled … [by] homosexuality and [racially] mix[ed] relationships,” the former WLM website used to read before it was taken down, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Illegal immigration, healthcare, housing, welfare, employment, education, social security, our children, our veterans and active military and their rights … are the issues we face as white Americans. The laws and immoral orders the current [Obama] administration are passing are drastically … targeting everything the white way of life holds dear.”
In response to Ye’s shirt, Twitter users began flooding the platform with disapproval for his insensitive choice, especially given that he is a Black man. See below for reactions, including some from fellow artists including Boosie BadAzz and Jaden Smith.