Kanye West can’t sell his “White Lives Matter” T-shirts because the trademark is now owned by two black social-justice warriors who want to stop anyone from profiting off the “pain” it holds.
Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, hosts of the “Civic Cipher” radio show, told Capital B that a longtime listener handed them ownership of using the inflammatory phrase for clothing on Friday.
The anonymous benefactor got the trademark in September — just weeks before the openly anti-Semitic rapper now known as Ye debuted his own shirts with the racially charged phrase.
“This individual didn’t want to produce those shirts, but rather it’s my understanding that they were doing it to ensure that the right people benefited from it,” Ja told the outlet of the mystery gift-giver.
“This person procured it but didn’t really love owning it, so they approached us to ensure that the right people benefit from it and that people aren’t hurt by it,” Ja said.
“The purpose was to make sure that other people didn’t get rich off of that pain.”
The Arizona-based hosts said that, as far as they know, no one from Ye’s camp has attempted to get permission to sell the shirts, which the under-fire rapper wore alongside Candace Owens during Paris Fashion Week.
Still, seeing the rap pioneer wearing them was “hurtful,” said Ja, whose “radio show was born out of the [Black Lives Matter] protests of 2020.”
“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. The Kanye that said [then-President] George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” he said of the rapper’s famous live TV tirade.
Online records confirm that Civic Cipher LLC owns the trademark for use on a slew of clothing, including T-shirts, hoodies and hats.
Still, Ja conceded that “realistically, we cannot stop the shirts from being made right now.
“We can write cease and desist 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,” he said.
One option, he said, would be for someone to offer to “buy the trademark for millions of dollars” — and the hosts then “could donate that money to causes that we feel would benefit black people, like the NAACP or Black Lives Matter organizations.”
Alternatively, they could “maybe donate the trademark to Black Lives Matter or any racial justice organization with the resources to send out cease and desist letters all day, every day,” he said.
“We know that phrases like ‘White Lives Matter,’ ‘All Lives Matter,’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter’ continue to cause harm and to dilute the narrative that was intended to be established by Black Lives Matter,” he said.
“We’re all for helping to use this as a measure to allow Black people to retain a little bit of ownership,” he said.
After sparking outrage with his shirts, Ye went on to suggest George Floyd’s caught-on-camera murder by a cop was really a drug OD — then vowed to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” before spreading anti-Semitic tropes.
Despite losing his billionaire status in the backlash, Ye has stood by his comments — claiming that he is the victim.