Kanye West Not Able to Sell ‘White Lives Matter’ Shirts Because These Two Guys Own the Trademark
Kanye West's most recent run of controversy started with the unveiling of his 'White Lives Matter' t-shirts.
The backlash Ye received over the 'White Lives Matter' t-shirts eventually snowballed into him making antisemitic comments that would ultimately cost him major partnerships and hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ye was dropped by his record label Def Jam. His manager and his lawyer decided to part ways with him. Adidas, GAP, Balenciaga, and other major companies terminated multimillion-dollar contracts as a result of Kanye making—then doubling and tripling down on his offensive remarks.
Now—thanks to two radio hosts in Arizona—Kanye may not even be able to profit off of the one thing that sparked all of this drama in the first place.
If Ye ever decides to sell his "White Lives Matter" T-shirts he will have to get approval from Ramses Ja and Quiton Ward—hosts of a weekly racial justice radio show called 'Civic Cipher' who recently took ownership of the trademark for the phrase "White Lives Matter."
Last month, a listener of their radio show (who wishes to remain anonymous) filed the trademark on the same day that Ye appeared in a shirt with a photo of Pope John Paul II on the front and the words "White Lives Matter" on the back.
The shirt was worn during a surprise catwalk show in Paris and quickly went viral on social media once images of the tee began to circulate.
When the listener reached out to transfer ownership to the radio hosts, it wasn't the easiest decision for them to accept at first, but ultimately they made a call to take over the trademark when they realized hate groups were already beginning to latch on to West's hateful comments.
once it was clear that someone stood to gain significant profit from it, because as you’ve seen, even though he (West) says some really hurtful, divisive and sometimes crazy things, he has a bit of a zealot following and every time he releases something, it sells out
Basically, the hosts quickly realized how much staying power the phrase had and took on the "responsibility" of making sure it didn't end up in the "wrong hands."
They didn’t want anyone to potentially profit off the term that the Anti-Defamation League has categorized as a “hate slogan.” The phrase is used by White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, and is described as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The "White Lives Matter" T-shirt wasn't the first time Ye used his platform to make statements that triggered many in the Black community. The rapper has infamously stated that "slavery was a choice" and has made numerous statements suggesting that racism was a "dated concept."
On Thursday (Nov. 3) Kanye declared that he was going on a 30-day cleanse where he won't be posting on social media, amongst numerous other sacrifices.
Just three minutes later Ye tweeted a clip featuring Kyrie Irving—who's currently dealing with his own backlash related to antisemitic behavior.
Ye swore off "alcohol, adult films, and intercourse" for the next 30 days, but let his followers know his Twitter was still gonna be "lit." So far, the fast isn't going too well as Kanye has already had one of his tweets removed from Twitter after violating the platform's terms on hate speech.
We'll see how these next 29 days go.