Source Explains Why Kanye West Wore 'White Lives Matter' Shirt

Rapper showed up at Paris Fashion Week wearing shirt with the message
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2022 2:00 AM CDT
Source Explains Why Kanye West Wore 'White Lives Matter' Shirt
Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

On Monday, Kanye West showed up at the surprise debut of his YZY Season Nine collection at Paris Fashion Week wearing a controversial shirt—and now a source says the move was not a publicity stunt, and the rapper is confused as to why it caused such a backlash. The shirt featured an image of Pope John Paul II's face on the front, and the message "White Lives Matter"—which the Anti-Defamation League has deemed hate speech—on the back. Candace Owens, the controversial Black right-wing political commentator, was his guest and also wore the shirt, as did models who appeared in the show. The outcry was immediate.

Jaden Smith got up and left. Outraged comments about West flooded social media, including by Smith. Critical opinion pieces were written in outlets from the New York Times to Teen Vogue. Sources claimed that West's ex, Kim Kardashian, was "disgusted," and her sister, Kendall Jenner, appeared to be on Smith's side when she "liked" several of his tweets on the matter. On Wednesday, West himself doubled down, Fox News reports: "Here’s my latest response when people ask me why I made a tee that says white lives matter… THEY DO," he posted.

But back to the sources who spoke to Page Six, who confirmed that this was truly an attempt by West to make a point, not just a ploy to get attention to his fashion line, and that he doesn't understand how he failed to make that point. "He thinks it’s a PC thing," says one. "He wants to give a voice to the ‘other side’ [of the race debate in America]. ... He doesn’t understand why people aren’t seeing that." (Read more Kanye West stories.)

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