There’s a lot of reasons to worry about Kanye West right now, but at least we can cross those White Lives Matter shirts off the list: Should he ever decide to sell the fascist garb he donned with Candace Owens at an October Yeezy fashion show, he won’t be able to legally, because two Black men (brilliantly) own the legal trademark.
As Capital B reports, an anonymous longtime listener of the Phoenix-based radio show Civic Cipher applied for ownership of the phrase “White Lives Matter” in an effort to keep it out of the wrong hands. The listener offered to gift it to Civic Cipher hosts Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, giving them sole ownership of the phrase and the ability to sue anyone who tries to use it for financial gain.
“The way the law works is either you’re owning phrases, or it’s up for grabs for people to make money off them,” Ja — who co-founded his show with Ward after the peak of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests — told Capital B. “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. They felt we were in a much more public position to use it to the advantage of Black folks.”
Should Ye try to purchase the copyright from Ja and Ward, he might need to save up a bit first: His partnerships with Yeezy Gap, JP Morgan Chase, Balenciaga, and adidas have all been severed, mostly due to a spike in his antisemitic comments that also got his social media accounts restricted. The latter brand’s termination means Ye is no longer a billionaire — though some delusional fans have made futile efforts to change that.