Rapper Kanye West attended his Yeezy Season 9 collection presentation in Paris, France, on Monday wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “White Lives Matter.”
The artist, also known as “Ye,” was joined by conservative commentator and author Candace Owens at the event, who also wore a matching T-shirt as West unveiled his latest clothing collection. Other models at the event were also wearing different variations of the same design, according to a report by Complex.
Owens later took to Twitter to share images of the T-shirt, which featured the late Pope John Paul II on the front along with the words “White Lives Matter” in large writing on the back.
West’s T-shirts prompted a quick reaction on social media, including from rapper Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, who was in attendance at the event.
The younger Smith took to Twitter to explain that he had left the event after seeing the T-shirts, writing, “I Don’t Care Who’s It Is If I Don’t Feel The Message I’m Out,” before adding that “Black Lives Matter.”
Temple University professor and BET host Marc Lamont Hill called West’s decision to wear the T-shirt “disgusting, dangerous, and irresponsible,” before stating that those who rush to defend West should “ask yourselves why.”
‘We Don’t Need a Reminder of the Worth of White Lives’
Elsewhere, producer and media personality Van Lathan wrote on Instagram: “We don’t need a reminder of the worth of white lives. America is a shrine to the worth of white people. This message is reactionary to a message affirming the worth of Black lives, which have never been worth anything in America.”
“In its intent, it’s a white supremacist notion, because it posits that we can’t have a conversation about the worth of Black people without having a conversation about the worth of white people, which is [expletive] insane,” Lathan wrote. “The notion that it ALWAYS has to be about white people in America is incredibly frustrating, emotionally draining, and the whole problem. But here’s Kanye, apparently centering that notion.”