“Jesus Is King” singer Kanye West turned heads at his Yeezy fashion show in Paris on Monday (Oct. 4) when he appeared alongside conservative influencer and talk show host Candace Owens wearing shirts emblazoned with the phrase “White Lives Matter.”
West’s shirt was black with large white lettering on the back, and Owens’ shirt was white with large black lettering, also on the back—both with the identical phrase. The front of the shirts featured a picture of the Pope’s face.
Owens posted the image of her smiling as she stood next to West on Twitter, a tweet that garnered over 105,000 likes and 14,300 retweets along with an endless string of comments both for and against the rapper’s branded shirts.
After debuting his shirt at the fashion show, Kanye shared a now-deleted Instagram story in which he wrote, “EVERYONE KNOWS BLACK LIVES MATTER WAS A SCAM. NOW IT’S OVER. YOU’RE WELCOME.”
West didn’t specify, but many believe that the 45-year-old was referencing Black Lives Matter executive Shalomyah Bowers, who has recently been accused of stealing $10 million in donor funds.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) October 3, 2022
ADL, an anti-hate organization founded in 1913 and known for “combating antisemitism, countering extremism, and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens,” labels the phrase “White Lives Matter” as a hate slogan.
“‘White Lives Matter’ is a white supremacist phrase that originated in early 2015 as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which arose to protest against police brutality against African-Americans and garnered considerable publicity in 2014 for protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer,” ADL says on their website.
The “Jesus Walks” rapper is no stranger to stepping into controversial situations and statements. For example, last year, during one of his Sunday Services, which feature a choir singing worship songs and are at times accompanied by well-known preachers like Joel Osteen and Rich Wilkerson, West invited well-known anti-Christian shock-rocker Marilyn Manson as a guest. Outspoken believer in Christ Justin Bieber was also a guest.
Many wondered whether West was seeking to positively influence Manson or merely pulling an elaborate publicity stunt.