Rapper and fashion designer Kanye West drew criticism on Monday after he wore a shirt emblazoned with the divisive phrase “White Lives Matter” on its back to a surprise showcase of his new Yeezy line at Paris Fashion Week.
The phrase itself is categorized by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, White Lives Matter is a neo-Nazi group that grew into a movement as “a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter.”
The front of West’s shirt featured a photograph of the late John Paul II. Some of the models on the catwalk of his show also wore shirts with the same message, The Guardian reported.
West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, walked the runway for Balenciaga earlier this week. He told the audience before the showcase of his own collection: “I am Ye and everyone here knows that I am the leader.”
Watch the video here:
On Tuesday morning, he shared this post calling Black Lives Matter “a scam” on Instagram:
Critics accused West, who has previously declared his love for former President Donald Trump and suggested slavery “sounds like a choice,” of sending “a dangerously dumb message” with the garment:
Musician and actor Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s son, appeared to respond to West’s attire with these critical tweets: