The fallout from Kanye West’s decision to wear a ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt continues to unfold, with the owners of the trademark to the phrase now requesting $1 billion from the rapper.
Last week, it was revealed that two Black radio show hosts, Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, had acquired the trademark to the controversial slogan weeks after Kanye West sported it during New York Fashion Week. The acquisition makes it illegal for Kanye to merchandise the phrase — which he had expressed interest in doing — without permission from Ja and Ward, who further elaborated on their ownership rights in an interview with TMZ over the weekend.
The pair explained their intentions to donate the money from the trademark sale to organisations supporting Black causes throughout the US, allowing them to “[do] the most good with this manoeuvre,” Ramses said. “If there was a person say, for instance, who came forward and said ‘I would like to offer you a billion dollars for this mark,’ [we’d be] charged with donating that money [and] spread that money around to different Black [organisations] fighting for Black and Brown people’s rights and communities across the country.”
Kanye West wearing a "White Lives Matter" shirt at his YZYSZN9 fashion show 🤔 pic.twitter.com/4C9lmUsenW
— Kurrco (@Kurrco) October 3, 2022
Ramses offer aligns with similar comments made by the pair upon their acquisition of the trademark last month, with the hosts echoing their intentions to donate money from the sale to “NAACP or Black Lives Matter organisations”. While the pair hypothesised a billion-dollar sale, they went on the explain that selling the trademark is not their highest priority: “We’re not soliciting that,” Ja said. “We don’t anticipate that as an outcome.”
It’s fair to say that West might not be too keen on the purchase, especially given the reported reduction of his net worth in the wake of his Fashion Week fiasco. In the weeks following his ‘White Lives Matter’ stunt, the rapper had his business ties severed by a slew of companies including TJ Maxx, Foot Locker and Balenciaga, reducing his net worth by around $600 million.