During Paris Fashion Week, America’s most controversial rap “artist” turned fashion designer Kanye West did what he does best: generate headlines. This time, he had a little help in the form of another controversial figure, Black female conservative commentator Candace Owens. The two strutted arm-in-arm at the Oct. 3 fashion show wearing generic shirts that read “White Lives Matter.” I, like many others, was baffled and confused on what the point was.
Was it meant to somehow be profound? Was it intended to be used as some kind of transformative, psychological statement? Was it mockery? Or was it just a statement for profits – a publicity stunt to keep Kanye on everyone’s lips, fulfilling his undying narcissistic need for attention? No matter which way you try to look at it, their intentions don’t add up, considering some of the recent stunts Kanye has pulled. One of which was his outspoken claims that he had been mistreated as a Black man, especially by his white former wife, her family and corporations. Yet, when he needs more attention, he reverts to stunts like “White Lives Matter,” to bank off of the BLM.
Let’s not forget, he supported the far right by going full MAGA, and even flaunted their gear during the Trump administration. In 2013, he also sold merchandise with Confederate flags on tour. He decided to double down on the controversy surrounding the new WLM shirts, by posting that he believed BLM was a scam and over. Apparently, in Kanye’s mind, he forgot the underlying point of that movement and the message behind it, despite the corporation. If Black Lives did matter, we wouldn’t be writing and discussing the many disproportionate problems that Blacks go through daily. Let’s add to his list of asinine statements with another reminder, that he once said that slavery was a choice, similar slavery lies shared by Candace Owens. Did African Americans sign up in being forced into slavery – being hung, hunted down and tortured? And if so, why was anyone that managed to escape hunted down, some mutilated when found so that they wouldn’t attempt escaping again? Is that why Blacks such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass risked their lives to escape slavery?
No matter his message, if it wasn’t intended to diminish the BLM movement, or black progress, he seemed to just empower openly, subconscious racist, or the far right. Black people like this that seek White validation at the cost of others are part of the problem. Kanye is an example of Black people that will drag other Blacks down for a profit. Not recognizing or honestly sharing our past history, and choosing to ignore the facts of what our country and others where founded on, and continue to thrive off of.
When asked about his message and the meaning behind it, he deflects, using his children, and even his “faith” as a shield. His narcissistic response was that he is a genius – a great artist – and the backlash shows him that Black people love him. Deflecting by saying that Owens was the only one that came to his defense when he had a disagreement with his ex over his child’s birthday. Is this why he seems to think he owes her his loyalty or is it because their beliefs align?
It seems as if he is pro-Black when it benefits him, yet constantly seeks white validation at the cost of his own people, like Owens who will constantly choose White supremacy over Blacks or people of color any day. She even posted a GoFundMe for one of the White men involved in the murder of Ahmaud Aubrey, defending his actions. Please, if you’re not familiar with this case, there is plenty of incriminating video of and evidence regarding that case which should leave no doubt why they were all found guilty. How anyone can defend their action is beyond me. This comes from a woman who on several occasions has stated that she does not want to be apart of Black culture, and that she wants to destroy it. Yes, she said this. She also believes that Blacks need to revert, and that they were better off 100 years ago. That’s right, before the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, Brown v Board of Education, Jim Crow and so many more landmarks that Blacks have achieved that affords her the rights to sit on a platform as a Black woman to speak to her majority White conservative audience. This women who openly believes that Blacks shouldn’t worry about racism, but when attending Stanford high she was bullied, called very racist slurs and they left her vulgar messages. She got the NAACP involved, sued and won a large sum of money. She later posted that GLAAD and the NAACP don’t exist to eliminate racism and homophobia, they exist to provide a spotlight to them so that their company executives can rake in millions and line their own pockets. Oddly, racism matters to her receiving it and the NAACP existed when she needed them and received money from it. Not everyone is afforded that opportunity or privilege. This women and her White male counterpart’s use talking points that are used by White supremacist.
Kanye and Owens are used by White supremacists as pawns, given a platform to say look, “we are not racist, we have them on our side,” and “look they are black and believe the same thing as us.”
People continue saying BLM took millions to fund their own agenda. Yet, didn’t Trump, and sadly most organizations or companies that seek funding or donations? It’s ironic to truly think that all the money goes towards funding that cause and most of it doesn’t go into the founders pockets. I didn’t see that rapper calling these corporations with 90% White CEOs out, nor his friend the former president, but he calls out BLM. Again an attempt to convolute Black movements. It’s just another intentional deflection against the BLM movement and its intentions despite any alleged misuse of donations. I’m not excusing it, but again there is no problem when the majority of White corporate have corrupt employees or documented proof of profiting from the poor, or fundraisers.
Saying that White Live’s Matter is a statement of fact – of course White lives matter. Every aspect of the country and even the world shows and can be proven that White lives matter; policing, government, education, health care, wealth, housing, etc. It all has shown that White lives have always mattered, and disproportionately more than Blacks. In society, have the lives of Whites ever been in question or invalidated?
Yes, all lives do matter, but no matter the intentions of Kanye and Owens, does it still have to be said that all lives don’t matter until Black lives matter. Ask yourself.
Falisha McGee is Associate Editor of BNN. She is an activist and burgeoning journalist who is passionate about the progress of Black Americans. She is also an avid supporter of Black women’s health and well-being. Her column is posted every week.