Kanye West launched Season 9 of his Yeezy fashion brand in Paris this evening, wearing a long-sleeved shirt with the slogan "White Lives Matter" emblazoned on the back.
Before the collection debuted, West delivered a statement to the assembled guests. He discussed his struggles breaking into the fashion industry, the 2016 robbery of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, and his ongoing feud with Gap, as the New York Post reports. He also appeared to acknowledge his capacity to generate controversy: “I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader. You can’t manage me," he said.
The slogan "White Lives Matter" was created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and widely adopted by racists and neo-Nazi groups. One organization known as White Lives Matter claimed that it was “dedicated to the promotion of the white race and taking positive action as a united voice against issues facing our race,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (the website was taken down in August 2016).
White Lives Matter has condemned what it calls the “bastardization of the white race” through mixed-race relationships. One of its flyers obtained by the SPLC read: “More whites die everyday [sic] through interracial offspring than the wars, abortions, accidents, and natural deaths put together. We must live geographically separated from other races with strict border control!!!!”
On Tuesday, West issued a statement on his Instagram page alluding to the "White Lives Matter" slogan, writing:
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT
BLACK LIVES MATTER WAS A SCAM
NOW ITS OVER
It is unclear whether or not West was expressing sympathy with any particular group or not. The FADER has reached out to Kanye West's representatives for more information.