American rapper Kanye West was spotted wearing a "White Lives Matter" t-shirt during Paris Fashion Week, which sparked controversy online.
On October 3, 2022, the 45-year-old star showcased his Yeezy Season 9 collection during fashion week, but before the models walked the ramp, he gave a speech donning a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt with Pope John Paul II's face on it. The phrase is considered a hate slogan by the Anti-Defamation League.
West's controversial attire was on full display as he gave his speech during the opening of the show. Moreover, a picture of him with Republican commentator Candace Owens also went viral on social media, where the duo can be seen wearing the same t-shirt to the fashion show.
What is White Lives Matter?: Twitter reacts to Kanye West's t-shirt
Originating in 2015, the phrase "White Lives Matter" is described as a "white supremacist phrase" by the Anti-Defamation League, which came into the limelight after the Black Lives Matter movement began.
According to the organization's website, the phrase has been propagated by representatives of the Aryan Renaissance Society and other white nationalists. By 2016, the Ku Klux Klan was doing this as well.
After Kanye "Ye" West wore a "White Lives Matter" t-shirt, fans did not just slam him but also his supporters online for propagating the phrase being a black man himself. Check out some of their reactions:
Prior to the fashion show, Kanye West gave a sneak peek at his Instagram stories of some famous models who would appear at the show. These included Irina Shayk, ex-wife Kim Kardashian, Candice Swanepoel, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Amelia Gray Hamlin, Gisele Bündchen, Naomi Campbell, Angelina Jolie, and Beyoncé.
Kanye West's outfit was on full display during his opening speech
During his Yeezy Season 9 fashion display, West donned his controversial t-shirt and gave an opening speech before the models walked on the ramp.
“I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader. You can’t manage me.”
During the speech, West touched on topics like his ex-wife Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery in 2016, former manager Scooter Braun asking him to continue his 2016 Saint Pablo Tour in order to "make more money," the challenges he faced while entering the fashion industry, and the recent termination of the partnership between him and Gap.
He also addressed how the cancelation of his 2016 tour will be a moment that will be brought up "for the rest of my life." He said:
"It's the ultimate stigma. People feel like they have the right to come to my face and call me crazy. Like it doesn't hurt my feelings. Or like, you don't have to be crazy in order to change the world."
Ahead of the show, Kanye West spoke to Vogue about his vision for the show and said:
“There’s just people. From the same planet. And sometimes, in high school, it feels like we don’t fit in. And in a situation like this, we have the opportunity to come together to express who we are. It’s leaning into the shape of how I see this future world … this alternate world. But in high school. It’s focused on curriculum because both my parents are educators.”
This is not the first time that Kanye West has come under fire for his outfits and political inclinations. During a 2018 performance on Saturday Night Live the Famous rapper was seen wearing a "MAGA" hat. He was previously seen visiting the White House wearing the same hat.