Gabriella Karefa-Johnson is the quickest to respond. The Vogue editor is sitting on the front row at Kanye West’s fashion show in Paris on Monday when a model with the writing “White Lives Matter” on her back walks past her. The fashion journalist couldn’t believe her eyes at this provocative inversion of the Black Lives Matter motto. “I’m angry, collect my thoughts . . .” Karefa-Johnson quickly writes on her Instagram story. Something like that cannot be justified by a claim to art, but simply “inexcusable”.
The performance is made even more bizarre by the fact that the black model is Selah Marley, the 23-year-old granddaughter of reggae icon Bob Marley and daughter of singer Lauryn Hill, whose family itself has suffered from racism. At the end of a weird performance, you see that Kanye West, who only calls himself Ye, is wearing a sweater with the inscription “White Lives Matter”. Some fashion editors have already left the room indignantly, and in the next few hours an Insta and Twitter storm breaks out over the 45-year-old star. Incidentally, Pope John Paul II was depicted on the front of his sweater.
“Slavery was a choice,” West once said
Could one have been prepared for such a scandal? Enigmatic behavior is common with West. Once he said “Slavery was a choice”, as if slaves had a choice; The black rapper surprisingly supported Donald Trump with the cap slogan “Make America Great Again”; he defended alleged abuser Marilyn Manson; after Kim Kardashian’s split, he stalked her for months – and even more so insulted her new boyfriend Pete Davidson.
Added to this are business turmoil. With his Yeezy brand, West had already successfully worked with Nike and Adidas. Two years ago he then announced a cooperation with the large clothing retailer Gap – which he surprisingly canceled three weeks ago. As with Adidas, agreements were not kept there and he was not given enough influence.
Last Sunday then the first appearance in Paris. A man in a martially thick uniform opens the Balenciaga show in a mud-covered hall. This expansive gait, this unkempt beard, this self-confident appearance is not . . .? yes this is yea He bravely trudges through the mud, stands backstage later, but can hardly be understood because of the mouthguard, as it is known from hockey; only his thick tooth splint is provided with Balenciaga lettering.