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BLM ‘a scam’: Was Kanye right to wear ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt?

WRITTEN BY
10/06/22
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Fact Box

  • During Paris Fashion Week in France, Kanye West asserted, “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam” while wearing a White Lives Matter T-shirt at a surprise Yeezy fashion show. 
  • Black Lives Matter (BLM) was established in 2013 in response to the Trayvon Martin case (2012). It operates under the premise of “eradicating white supremacy, building power against violence, and creating space for Black innovation.”
  • A June 2022 Pew Research poll found that 57% of American adults supported Black Lives Matter while the majority of teenagers believed in the movement. 
  • Paris Fashion Week was established in 1973 with the Battle of Versailles Fashion Show as a fundraiser to restore the Palace of Versailles. It has since been known for its “theatricality and couture.”

Elisa (Yes)

Kanye is right about his recent controversial comments regarding the fraudulent BLM organization, donning his new 'White Lives Matter' shirt for the 'Yeezy Season 9' collection. BLM was built on the lie that Michael Brown was a defenseless victim of a racist police officer and has since perpetuated the false narrative that police shootings involving Black men are racially motivated and quite high in number (when, in actuality, they are rather low). BLM made a resurgence in May of 2020, heralding George Floyd—who had a violent criminal history—as a hero. This resulted in divisive societal upheaval, violent riots that produced massive property damage, and rising murders across the nation.

Moreover, BLM is flawed in its core goals, such as abolishing the police and disrupting the 'nuclear family structure.' These goals, including the complete eradication of police, are not exaggerations. The BREATHE Act is another example of BLM's controversial demands. BLM also secretly bought a $6 million house and has been sued for financial fraudulence. BLM's support has been declining, with many citing spiritual reasons for not supporting the movement, such as its stance against protecting unborn Black lives. 

Given these facts, Kanye's comments are not unwarranted. While some may not appreciate how he expressed his views, he still maintains the right to voice them freely. Too many uncritically embraced BLM's movement, denouncing anyone who disagrees as racist. Freedom of speech is endangered in America, as the rise of cancel culture has silenced many into submission. But not Kanye, who is exercising his right to criticize BLM, and like many artists, did so in a way that caught the entire nation's attention. Like him or hate him, Kanye has a point—BLM polarizes people; it does not unite. It only divides


Stephanie (No) 

At a recent surprise fashion show from Kanye West for his brand Yeezy, he shocked the audience with T-shirts adorned with the phrase 'WHITE LIVES MATTER,' and decried the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as a 'scam' on Instagram. But he entirely misses the point. The ethos behind the BLM movement is to eradicate White supremacy and advocate for Black lives that have been brutalized and disrespected. This reactionary movement labeled White Lives Matter (WLM) was created more as a slap in the face of BLM rather than a movement dedicated to any type of racial equality; by using this slogan, Kanye is intentionally or not promoting 'disgusting, dangerous, and irresponsible' ideas.

To Kanye's credit, every person has freedom of speech and can promote any ideas they choose. Still, when celebrities promote ideas and make such strong statements, it can cause fans to espouse similarly, if not even more, hateful ideas. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, pushing this idea fails to acknowledge the hardships that Black people continue to struggle with and promotes harmful unresearched opinions. 

Further, the official WLM movement created in 2015 is directly related to a neo-nazi group responsible for anti-black rallies in recent years. While Kanye might have no affiliation or even knowledge of these groups, these people could take Kayne's views as a celebrity endorsement and become emboldened to spread hate speech to a broader audience. 

Although Kanye's intentions can seem confusing at best, the meaning behind the phrase he has chosen to promote comes along with multiple negative associations and implications. Words and actions often have more meaning than what is at face value, and Kanye has seemingly chosen to align himself with a movement backed by anti-Black violence.

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