Kanye West: why did artist wear ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week for surprise Yeezy event

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Kanye West sparks outrage by wearing controversial ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt at surprise Yeezy event

Kanye West has left attendees at Paris Fashion Week in shock after donning a t-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter” at his surprise Yeezy event.

The rapper, 45, who made his debut as a runway model for Balenciaga on Sunday, didn’t have his Yeezy Season 9 show listed on the Paris Fashion Week schedule before the surprise display on Monday.

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He sparked outrage by attending the event in a controversial T-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter” on the back.

The long-sleeved shirt, which featured a photo of Pope John Paul II on the front, was also worn by models on the Yeezy catwalk.

Kanye West, Saint West, Psalm West and Chicago West attend the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 02, 2022 in Villepinte, France. (Photo by Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images For Balenciaga )Kanye West, Saint West, Psalm West and Chicago West attend the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 02, 2022 in Villepinte, France. (Photo by Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images For Balenciaga )
Kanye West, Saint West, Psalm West and Chicago West attend the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on October 02, 2022 in Villepinte, France. (Photo by Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images For Balenciaga ) | Getty Images For Balenciaga

Black Lives Matter was a phrase used to protest against brutality, and White Lives Matter reframes that phrase as a hate statement.

Today, Kanye posted on his Instagram story: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam. Now it’s over, you’re welcome.”

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The 45-year-old , who prefers to be known as Ye, had rightwing commentator Candace Owens as a guest at the Yeezy Season 9 show.

Kanye West Instagram story post after donning ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt (Instagram/kanyewest)Kanye West Instagram story post after donning ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt (Instagram/kanyewest)
Kanye West Instagram story post after donning ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt (Instagram/kanyewest) | Instagram/kanyewest

Candace also wore the White Lives Matter t-shirt, as did the catwalk models - including Bob Marley’s granddaughter, Selah Marley.

Over 12,000 Twitter users have re-tweeted Candace’s snap showing herself in the t-shirt alongside Kanye.

One person commented: “If you don't get that you're just undermining a movement by imitating their name and logo, you're simply not worth anyone's time.”

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Another wrote: “I’d rather see sweatshirts that say “ALL PEOPLE MATTER.” That makes more sense to me. Splitting it off into different ethnic groups just makes it political. After 8 times around the world everyone I’ve met has been nice. Politics wants you to believe in HATE!👈👀/”

A third added: “The reason why there is no need for you or Kanye West or anyone else to wear a white lives matter shirt is because never in the history of this country has the value that America puts on white lives ever been in question”

Before the secret show began, Ye told the audience: “Everyone here knows that I am the leader … you can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation.”

This came a day after he made his debut as a runway model, when he opened Balenciaga’s S/S23 show at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday.

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The rapper, from Georgia, stomped down the runway in black leather trousers, a bulky ‘security’ jacket with pockets, a baseball cap and a Balenciaga branded gum shield.

He was joined at the Spanish designer’s dystopian-themed show by his children Saint, Psalm and Chicago - but their mother, Kim Kardashian, was no where to be seen.

Kanye’s daughter, North, was sat on the front row watching the Balenciaga runway, alongside aunts Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.

Attendees knew to expect something special when they received their invitation - which was a Balenciaga black leather wallet with receipts, money and an ID card belonging to Natalia Antunes.

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The back of the wallet had the details on for “The Mud Show”, which was to be held at Parc des Expositions de Villepinte.

The Mud Show was set in a dark room, and the floor of the convention centre was a mud path with puddles of water and sludge.

While Kanye was well dressed for the environment, some models were topless or wearing high heeled shoes.

Balenciaga’s show notes explained that the brand’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, hates “being labelled and placed in a box” and that is why he has decided “to no longer explain” his collections.

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It read: “ hate boxes and I hate labels and I hate being labeled and placed in a box. Society, the internet, and the world in general loves doing that, because it feels safe this way.

“One needs to have courage and persistence to truly assume their identity and who they really are. Every day becomes a battlefield to defend this unique identity.

US rapper Kanye West (C), US actress Madelaine Petsch (2ndL) and US singer Halsey (3rdL) attend the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)US rapper Kanye West (C), US actress Madelaine Petsch (2ndL) and US singer Halsey (3rdL) attend the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
US rapper Kanye West (C), US actress Madelaine Petsch (2ndL) and US singer Halsey (3rdL) attend the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

“And the more you try to be yourself the more you get punched in your face. But how great it is to be different from one another.

“The challenge is to get up and keep walking towards your true self after you have been beaten up and knocked down.

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“Fashion loves boxes and labels more than anything. Luxury, not luxury, street, couture, good, bad, buzz, viral, all the same, who cares. Putting luxury fashion into the box of polished, exclusive, and visually expensive is limited and pretty old school.

“Individualism in fashion is downgraded to pseudotrends dictated by a post in stories of some celebrity of the moment.

“I’ve decided to no longer explain my collections and verbalize my designs, but to express a state of mind. Fashion is a visual art and all we need is for it to be seen through someone’s eyes. Fashion in its best case scenario should not need a story to be sold to someone. You either like it or not.

“The set of this show is a metaphor for digging for truth and being down to earth. Let us let everyone be anyone.”

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American model Bella Hadid, Norwegian model Jonas Bahri, Australian model Julia Nobis, South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akeck, and American actress Amelia Gray were among those who took to the runway for Balciaga.

Balenciaga posted all 75 of its SS23 looks to Instagram, for their 13.9 million followers to see.

Fashion enthusiasts have taken to Twitter to give their verdict on the show.

One person wrote: “What is this @BALENCIAGA ? How is this down to earth? @kanyewest. Trying to be different is going overboard. Walking around in a 20,000 jacket in the mud? #ParisFashionWeek #KimKardashian”

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Another said: “A lot of fashion show elements have been making the rounds for doublesided social media criticism in the past few days. From Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress to Kanye West’s mud show. What many people fail to remember is that many of these shows are more about the artistic elements..”

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