Two Black radio hosts have purchased the trademark for ‘White Lives Matter’ to stop Kanye West from selling merchandise with the phrase.
Ye had previously been seen with Candace Owens in a ‘White Lives Matter’ at Paris Fashion Week. Furthermore, during West’s Yeezy fashion show, models were also wearing similar clothing, which was roundly condemned by anti-hate charities. In a since-deleted Instagram post, he also claimed he would be “selling these White Lives Matter tees later today”, but now that looks out of reach.
Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, the Black co-hosts of Arizona radio show Civic Cipher have revealed they were given the legal trademark to ‘White Lives Matter’ by an anonymous listener. According to the government’s trademark database, the duo have the right to use the phrase for clothing, including graphic t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts and long and short-sleeve shirts.
Speaking in a new interview with Capital B, Ja explained. “The way the law works is either you’re owning phrases, or it’s up for grabs for people to make money off them.”
He added: “This person who first procured it didn’t really love owning it, because the purpose was not necessarily to get rich off of it. The purpose was to make sure that other people didn’t get rich off of that pain.”
Ja also said they planned on selling the trademark and “donat[ing] that money to causes that we feel would benefit Black people, like the NAACP or Black Lives Matter organisations”.
“Realistically, we cannot stop the shirts from being made right now,” he admitted. “We can write cease and desists to people selling these shirts right now, but that is a big monster that requires teams of lawyers and thousands of dollars that we do not have.”
Ja also spoke about why it’s difficult to be a fan of Kanye right now, and said: “It’s hurtful, but it’s not something that was unexpected because I know that Kanye has been moving in this direction for some time. I do my best to try to remember the Kanye that I knew in ’04 and ’05”.