Kanye West appears with a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at his Paris fashion show

Edward Berthelot / GC Images PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 02: Kanye West aka Ye is seen wearing a Balenciaga boxing mouthguard, outside Givenchy, during Paris Fashion Week – Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 – Day Seven on October 02, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/GC Images)

Edward Berthelot / GC Images

Kanye West, here in October 2022, in Paris.

MODE – The shortest jokes are often the best. After walking proudly through the mud for Balenciaga, Kanye West held a surprise fashion show in Paris to present his new clothing collection on Monday, October 3. On this occasion, he presented himself dressed in a flocked T-shirt with a controversial slogan: ” White Lives Matter ».

It was his friend Candace Owens who first shared a photo of him. A friend, who is not just anyone since she is an American conservative activist and close to Donald Trump. The same who, during a congressional hearing in September 2019, argued that white nationalism was not a real problem for American minorities, especially black people.

It was then dressed in this same black long-sleeved garment that Kanye West came to greet the few happy few invited to the event, following a speech plunged into darkness during which he addressed pell-mell the theft of jewelry from his ex-wife Kim Kardashian in Paris, the recent cancellation of his dates at Coachella or the tensions with his former music producer Scooter Braun.

A new racist controversy

« This is stigma pure and simple. People think they have the right to come face to face with me and call me ‘crazy’. As if it didn’t hurt me. Or as if you don’t have to be crazy to want to change the world “, he launched into the microphone. Asking the assembly if Elvis Presley would have been so successful if he had had Instagram, instead of being ” restrained by his manager ,” Kanye West added. You can’t handle me ».

As historian Sylvie Laurent points out in her book Poor little whiteand the slogan “White Lives Matter”) was launched in 2015 in circles of the American far right, and more particularly by white supremacists close to the Ku Klux Klan, in the face of the scale of the movement against police violence and the emergence of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

The message on Kanye West’s t-shirt, who has called himself Ye for several years, is reminiscent of several other racist controversies linked to the rapper. There were, in 2018, his remarks on slavery which he compared, during a river interview on a New York radio, to a choice. “We hear about slavery that lasted 400 years. For 400 years? It looks like a choice.” did he estimate. His support for Donald Trump can testify to this. The Confederate flag jacket he wore in 2013, too.

« I am the leader »

This Monday, around sixty guests, specially selected by Kanye West, were gathered. We saw the stylist and artistic director of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia, but also the fashion icon Michèle Lamy and the star of the catwalks Naomi Campbell. The latter paraded dressed in the designer’s new creations, futuristic clothes (and in particular a pair of rubber boots) in dark colors worthy of the saga. Dune.

As the story goes Le Figaro, the show started an hour late. ” Fashion takes time and we need that time to bring you the best ideas. What you will experience here, you will not experience on Googlejustified the rapper. I’m Ye and everyone here knows I’m the leader. »

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