Fashion

Kanye West Is Not Being Thought-Provoking, He Is Inciting Hatred. I Can No Longer Defend Him

Kanye ‘Ye’ West is yet again dominating headlines. The latest? The “White Lives Matter” t-shirt  worn by himself, models, and celebrities on the runway as part of his YZY SZN9 show at Paris Fashion Week, decrying the Black Lives Matter movement as a “scam”. When Vogue Editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson criticised his decision, describing the t-shirts as “deeply offensive, violent and dangerous”, Kanye responded by mocking Gabriella and her fashion sense on Instagram.

Vogue released a statement saying “she was personally targeted and bullied… in a private meeting with Ye today she once again spoke her truth in a way she felt best, on her terms.”

Ye is so hell-bent on defying the status quo, he actively plays devil’s advocate in order to rally people up – even if it means firmly backtracking on his own previously expressed views – so he can stand out as the man with his own ideas.

Over the last two days, Ye has prompted serious discourse around the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as inadvertently highlighting the havoc one person’s actions can wreak on an entire community. Kanye West has been a pillar in the Black community for almost two decades and fans across the world have since gravitated toward his artistry. What he says matters, and it affects people everywhere. 

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As tempted as I was to take the approach of “Ignore him, and he’ll go away”, I can’t ignore the fact that Kanye has the power to seriously hinder the progress the Black community has made in the last few years to create further equality and leverage for themselves, at a time when race relations in the western world are turbulent.

What Kanye did by wearing those T-shirts wasn’t revolutionary, it was pure disrespect for a community that is still being marginalised and gaslit about their experiences and their healing process, through generational trauma, and stemming from slavery and discrimination. The T-shirts are offensive to the people that fought and marched for equal rights for the Black community. The message on those T-shirts created a vessel for hatred as opposed to the play on irony he alluded to in the aftermath.