Not too long ago, Ye, formally known as Kanye West, wore a shirt displaying John Pope Paul on the front and the words “White Lives Matter” on the back during his surprise Yeezy catwalk for New York Fashion Week. That same day, co-hosts of a Phoenix based radio podcast, Quinton Ward and Ramses Ja, filed to trademark the offensive phrase Ye was planning to make a profit from. As of October 28th, they officially own the trademark… but what exactly was their reasoning behind it?
Ward and Ja’s “Civic Cipher” airs weekly with the goal to highlight the work of Black creators and acknowledge the urgent need for change in today’s society. One of their listeners reached out to them to inform the co-hosts that they already had ownership of the trademark. The listener determined that the ownership of the prejudice phrase would be better off in the protection of Ward and Ja.
Ja told CNN that obtaining this ownership includes the right to sell the phrase on clothing. Ye told the public that he initially had the intent to sell these shirts in Los Angeles, but ended up dropping the boxes off at homeless encampments. Thankfully, the design was never officially released. Now with the new owners of this phrase, anyone who tries to sell products with “White Lives Matter” on it will receive a cease and desist letter.
In an interview with NPR, Ja said this, “The listener did not want to be associated with this in any way, but they recognize the importance of ownership…You can prevent bad things from happening by owning it. You can shape the outcomes.” From preventing anyone from using the phrase completely, it also eradicates the risk of anyone using the phrase in a deeming, or prejudiced way.
The phrase “White Lives Matter” originated from an Anti-Black movement created as a response to “Black Lives Matter,” a statement that resurfaced following the death of George Floyd. Many right wing republicans made the argument that all lives matter, not just Black people. The original intent of the BLM movement was to highlight that more Black lives were being taken by police brutality compared to other races, thus stressing the importance of saving Black lives. Unfortunately white people still decided to take offense to this, leading to the birth of Ye’s new favorite propagandist phrase used to upset Black media.
But seriously, we all know that Ye has made multiple remarks that go against his own culture, for example, when he declared to the world that slavery was a choice, or when he felt so moved to proclaim that Harriet Tubman never freed slaves. It’s not as if there aren’t piles of primary sources waiting to prove him wrong. Now with this whole “White Lives Matter” situation, I love to see that Black people as a community can come together and call major BS on this man who continues to be a negative model for our front.
All in all, I am so thankful that someone took initiative to stomp their foot down, and step closer to making a change. I know I for one did my little happy dance when I heard the news. Kudos to these two men for making the move we all knew was needed.
How do you all feel about this move from Ja and Ward? LMK!
By Jada Strong, Freshman, Whitney Young Magnet
Twitter / Insta: @JadaStrongg
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