On Thursday, Kanye West offered a simple explanation for his ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt – saying he wore the controversial outfit at a fashion show in Paris because “they do”.
The 45-year-old rapper doubled down on his decision to wear the shirt during an hour-long meeting with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, where he also seemed shocked by the backlash caused by the stunt.
“I do some things from a feeling,” West said. “I just channel the energy, it feels good. It uses an instinct, a connection to God and just shine,” he said of wearing the shirt.
West, who now legally goes by the first name Ye, said his father contacted him about the shirt, which he found hilarious.
“I thought the shirt was a funny shirt. I thought the idea of wearing it was funny. And I said ‘Dad why do you find this funny?’ And he said “just a black man stating the obvious”.
West has come under public criticism from many people — including Vogue editor-in-chief Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and model Gigi Hadid — for wearing the shirt to her fashion show on Monday. Other models on the show wore the same shirt.
“They’re looking for an explanation — as an artist, you don’t have to explain, but as a leader, you do,” the “All of the Lights” rapper told Carlson.
“So the answer to why I wrote ‘White Lives Matter’ on a shirt is that they do. It’s an obvious thing,” West said.
Following the controversy, West contract with Adidas would have been “under review”.
When Carlson asked the “Gold Digger” rapper what he thought made the “White Lives Matter” statement so controversial, West blamed “a mob group” of “liberal Nazis” as well as the media, which he said , push the norms of white society.
“Because the same people who stripped us of an identity and labeled us a color told us what it means to be black and the vernacular you’re supposed to have,” he said.
He told an anecdote about his father, a former Black Panther, facing racial discrimination growing up in Delaware as one of the only, if not the only, black family around. When his father attended a black college, West said his black classmates told his father he “spoke white.”
The controversy behind the shirt, he said, stemmed from a black girl saying she “felt traumatized” after seeing it.
“It’s like a black girl saying, ‘I felt traumatized when I saw a black man wearing something he wasn’t supposed to wear,'” he said.
He compared it to Quinten Tarantino’s 2012 film “Django Unchained,” in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character, a house slave, is antagonized by Jamie Fox’s character, a free black man, for riding a horse. in pre-war America.
“If we thought of ourselves as a people and not as a race, we would treat our people better,” said West, who called the The Black Lives Matter movement a “scam” earlier this week, said later.
“In America, as black people, we despise each other for the quality of our speech. But we speak English. There is nothing whiter than English. We are not in our mother tongue, in fact. So we judge each other on white goal lines, not on the exact basis of what our culture is based on.
West is no stranger to controversial wardrobe choices. He wore a MAGA hat during his infamous visit with former President Donald Trump at the White House in 2018. The rapper also donned a jacket with the Confederate flag on it in 2013.
He told Carlson that his expressed support for President Donald Trump and other issues have isolated him from his friends and even put him at risk of violent attacks.
“My so-called friends/managers around me told me that if I said I loved Trump, my career would be over. That my life would be over. They said things like people were getting killed for wearing a hat like that. They threatened my life. They basically said I would be killed for wearing the hat,” West said.
“Someone called me last night and said anyone wearing a White Lives Matter shirt is going to be lit green. That means they’re going to beat them if they wear it. I’m like, you know , okay, green light me then.
The sequel to West’s interview with Carlson is set to air on his show tomorrow night.