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Kanye West Slammed for “White Lives Matter” Shirt and “Harmful” YZY 9 Show

Kanye West is no stranger to controversy. In a last-minute Paris Fashion Week stunt, West pulled out all the stops at his YZY season 9 show in Paris on Monday (Oct. 3) to showcase his latest collection. But the only things that stood out to thousands of viewers were West and his models wearing “White Lives Matter” apparel in an inflammatory statement that has earned an incredible amount of backlash from just about every corner of the Internet. 

The event began with a very Kanye West speech that The Cut writer Asia Milia Ware described as “more like an introduction to a chilling cult than a fashion show.” “You can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation,” West said. “I want to make it clear to you guys that Bernard Arnault is my new Drake,” he added, putting himself in opposition to LVMH CEO Arnault. He then ran a video showcasing famous people such as scientists and celebrities discussing creativity and the current state of the world. West’s take on that? “We’re at war.” 

During the show, West, donning a black “White Lives Matter” hoodie, sent several hand-picked Black models down the runway wearing the same hoodies. The harm in such a stunt can’t be overlooked; the phrase is an inherently racist one that was created in 2015 by white supremacist groups in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Anti-Defamation League categorized the phrase as a “hate slogan,” making the optics of this situation that much worse. Writer and editor Lynette Nylander had to walk out of the show over what she saw. “I could not believe what I was seeing, and I couldn’t believe that everyone else didn’t seem enraged […] There are just so many layers.” 

Celebrities and commentators came out in full force on Twitter after photos from the YZY show surfaced, condemning Kanye West for his disparagement of the Black community–an allegation that isn’t new to the rapper and fashion designer. Although his brand of politics claims to uplift Black people, his stunts in recent years have leaned in a bizarrely conservative and hateful fashion; after all, West is a self-proclaimed Trump supporter. 

Here’s what some notable people had to say:


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