Ahmaud Arbery’s mother is the latest individual that’s come forward to criticize Kanye West for his controversial behavior this week, which included the rapper wearing a t-shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” during his YZY SZN 9 presentation that took place in Paris on Monday. Kanye also doubled down on Tuesday, calling Black Lives Matter a “scam.”
Kanye previously had lent his support to Arbery’s family after the unarmed Black jogger was chased and murdered by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael in 2020. In June 2020, West donated $2 million to the families of Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. He also made an additional donation to cover the legal fees for Arbery.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-James, expressed her “extreme disappointment” for Kanye’s “White Lives Matter” stunt.
“As a result of his display ‘White Lives Matter’ started trending in the U.S., which would directly support and legitimize extremist behavior, [much] like the behavior that took the life of her son,” Cooper-James 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.”
Before kicking off his YZY SZN 9 fashion show on Monday, Kanye was joined by conservative pundit Candace Owens, who also wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt. Ye delivered a speech in which he touched on various topics, but did not acknowledge the controversial t-shirt.
“I am Ye and everyone here knows that I am the leader,” he said. “You can’t manage me. This is an unmanageable situation.”
Ye later addressed the criticism surrounding the choice of wardrobe by blasting the Black Lives Matter as a “scam.”
“Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam. Now its [sic] over. You’re welcome,” he wrote on his Instagram Story.
Since the controversial attire, Ye has been denounced by various members of the fashion community including Tremaine Emory and Gigi Hadid.