Kanye West has called Black Lives Matter “a scam” in a new Instagram post, hours after causing a stir by showcasing “White Lives Matter” T-shirts at his Paris Fashion Week Yeezy presentation.
The rapper and fashion designer, 45, drew criticism after he and conservative commentator Candace Owens appeared Monday at his show donning tops emblazoned with the words “White Lives Matter”—with models also seen wearing the slogan.
West’s revision of the Black Lives Matter message angered many who have advocated for social justice. For years, Black Lives Matter supporters have protested against systemic racism and police brutality, but some white supremacists have distorted the group’s well-known slogan to espouse racist views.
However, the rap star appeared undeterred the day after the show, when he took to his Instagram account to lash out at the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam,” he wrote in a text post. “Now [it’s] over. You’re welcome.”
West also appeared to respond to criticism from global Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, who was at the show and called the controversial runway display “pure violence.”
Hours after Karefa-Johnson shared her damning assessment on Instagram, West posted a screenshot of her profile on the image-sharing platform, alongside a caption that said: “Broke the processor When the computer can’t read the code This is a droid.”
He also posted a picture of Karefa-Johnson and wrote: “This is not a fashion person You speak on Ye Ima speak on you Ask Trevor Noah.”
“‘Diversity and Equity’ hire,” Owens wrote in the comments section. “These droids are everywhere.”
Karefa-Johnson had posted screenshots of the self-described “gut reaction” she had to West’s show in messages she said had been sent to a friend.
“What I feel is that he is not fully aware of the difference between appropriating BLM and subverting the ‘make America Great Again’ hat,” she wrote of West, a onetime vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. “Although I disagree with his thesis there.”
Karefa-Johnson continued: “I understand his idea that the hat was readymade. And it’s value was intrinsic to context—signature of the artist. When worn by [Trump] it’s racist, when [worn] by Kanye it’s about liberation.”
“He neglected to realize the importance of object when he tried to extend that kind of subversion to the BLM slogan,” she said. “One is object one is ethos.
“I know what he was trying to do. He was trying to illustrate a dystopian world in the future when whiteness might become extinct or at least would be in enough danger to demand defense,” she said.
“I guess I get what he tried to do—he thought it was [Duchampian]. It wasn’t,” she said in a caption over the post. “It didn’t land and it was deeply offensive, violent and dangerous.”
Continuing her stream of messages, Karefa-Johnson wrote that “the danger is that, this very premise, the idea that white supremacy is in danger of extinction [is] what justifies mass incarceration, murder en masse, indeed even the advent of slavery.
“The idea that blackness must be snuffed out for it will surely [supersede] whiteness in power and influence if given the chance, and it’s so hugely irresponsible to furnish the most dangerous extremists with this kind of fiction narrative.”
Karefa-Johnson also pointed out that students from the choir at West’s California-based school Donda Academy were singing at the show, saying that it “felt like the divide between indoctrination and education has never been finer.”
In a follow-up post, Karefa-Johnson—who shared video footage of herself saying “oh no” in disapproval at the show—clarified her views on West’s messaging.
She wrote: “It’s become clear that some viewers think my previous post containing my working, evolving thoughts on Kanye’s show was some sort of distorted justification for the incredibly irresponsible and dangerous act of sending ‘W*** Lives Matter’ T-shirts down a runway.
“Please understand: it wasn’t. The tshirts this man conceived, produced, and shared with the world are pure violence. There is no excuse, there is no art here. I’m sorry I failed to make that clear—I thought I did. I do think if you asked Kanye, he’d say there was art, and revolution, and all of the things in that t-shirt. There isn’t.
“As we work through the trauma of this moment, especially those of us who suffered in that room, let’s have some grace for one another,” Karefa-Johnson said.
Newsweek has reached out to representatives of West, Karefa-Johnson and Black Lives Matter for comment.