Ahmaud Arbery’s Family Respond To Kanye West’s 'White Lives Matter' Shirt
The family of Ahmaud Arbery is responding to Kanye West’s promoting the phrase “White Lives Matter” on the backs of shirts worn during his latest Yeezy line show at Paris Fashion Week. Arbery’s family says that the phrase helped to “legitimize extremist behavior.”
In several now viral social media clips, West is seen wearing the shirt with the phrase, an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan used to protest racial injustice, discrimination and police brutality. The phrase has also been categorized by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan or symbol.
According to Rolling Stone, Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of the late Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed when he went for a jog in Georgia and three white neighbors chased him down and shot him in February 2020., expressed her “extreme disappointment” with West’s actions.
“As a result of his display ‘White Lives Matter’ started trending in the U.S., which would direct support and legitimize extremist behavior, [much] like the behavior that took the life of her son,” Cooper-Jones relayed through her attorney Lee Merritt. “That is the thing that Wanda and families like hers continue to fight against.”
“This mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement and his now denunciation of the movement as some sort of hoax flies directly in the face [of what he’s said,]” the statement added. “It’s confusing for her, it’s confusing for the families to receive his support privately, but publicly to set us all back.”
West was also photographed at the event alongside conservative Black commentator Candace Owens wearing a matching shirt.