Yasiin Bey Puts Clever Spin On Kanye West's 'White Lives Matter' Shirt
Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) has repurposed Kanye West‘s “White Lives Matter” shirt with the help of Spanish-Moroccan artist Anuar Khalifi.
Late Thursday night (October 6), the “Umi Says” rapper shared a collaborative Instagram post with Khalifi in which Bey first appears with his back turned to the camera. Printed on the back of his long-sleeved shirt is Ye’s now infamous reimagining of the Black Lives Matter slogan in white with the letter “v” appearing in Black, thus spelling “White Lies Matter.”
The photo set includes Bey — who’s worked with Kanye on numerous songs and was previously signed to his G.O.O.D. Music label — modeling the back of the shirt in white before showing off the front of the shirt, which bears a photo of Georg Hegel with his eyes covered by a black bar.
The German philosopher is best know for having defined the Hegelian Dialectic, the philosophy that the contradiction between a concept and its antithesis (or opposite concept) can be resolved by a higher level of truth.
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Bey and Khalifi also appear side by side in the post, which is simply captioned with the words “AnYa” — a combination of Anuar and Yasiin — and “HEGEL 2022” alongside the artists’ IG handles.
Despite three different versions of the shirt being showcased in the IG post, it’s unclear whether the shirt will be available for purchase. At press time, they do not appear in the shop section of Khalifi’s website, which is linked in his Instagram bio.
While the shirt seems to be a critique or counterpoint to Kanye West’s infamous shirt, which he debuted at his Yeezy fashion show in Paris earlier this week, Ye shared artist Jessica Care Moore’s repost of Yasiin Bey’s “White Lies Matter” photos to his Instagram Story.
Ye did not add a caption or comment to the post, but did include Moore’s original caption, which read: “Some beautiful balance from @yasiinbey & @anuarkhalifi #artistfamily.”
Kanye’s “White Lives Matter” shirt has been at the center of a storm of media and celebrity criticism since photos from his Paris Fashion Week show emerged online on Monday (October 3). While he’s been condemned by several public figures including Ahmad Arbery’s mother Wanda Cooper-James and Diddy, albeit less sternly, Ye has made statements standing by the messaging on the shirts.
On Thursday afternoon, the Chicago rapper shared a screenshot of a text conversation with his father, in which the elder West seemed to approve of the “White Lives Matter” slogan. Ye captioned his Instagram Story: “Donda would have understood it too,” referring to his mother, who many have evoked in their criticism of the shirts.
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Kanye West also appeared on Fox News on Thursday to explain why he included the “White Lives Matter” shirts in his latest Yeezy collection.
“My favorite response, ’cause I kept on thinking, ‘They’re looking for an explanation,’” he told Tucker Carlson. “And people say, ‘Well, as an artist, you don’t have to give an explanation, but as a leader, you do.’ So the answer to why I wrote ‘White Lives Matter’ on a shirt is, because they do. It’s the obvious thing.
“At a certain point, it felt like I saw white people wearing shirts that said ‘Black Lives Matter’ like they were doing me such a favor by having a T-shirt that reminded me that my life mattered, like I didn’t already know that,” he said. “So I thought I’d return the favor and let white people know that, ‘Hey, your life matters too.’”