Ye aka Kanye West’s potential goal of selling his controversial t-shirts looks to be thwarted thanks to an unlikely duo owning the trademark.
The “White Lives Matter” t-shirts that the controversial rapper sported a couple of weeks back along with conservative advocate Candace Owens, have added to the outrage he’s incurred. According to a recent interview, any potential plan Ye may have had to sell those tees for profit is dead on arrival because ownership of the phrase belongs to two Black men – Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, hosts of the radio show Civic Cipher.
The Phoenix, Arizona-based duo revealed that they came into ownership of the trademark thanks to an anonymous donor who had scooped it up to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. “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,” Ja said in the interview.
After they contacted Ja and Ward in early September to offer them ownership of the trademark, the deal became official on Oct. 28. As a result, the two have sole ownership over the phrase and possess the ability to sue anyone using it for profit.
“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. Those phrases are all piggybacking off of Black people’s creativity and efforts, so we’re all for helping to use this as a measure to allow Black people to retain a little bit of ownership,” Ja continued.
The hosts acknowledged the emotional turmoil of Ye’s comments. “[I]t’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 George Bush doesn’t care about Black people,” Ja said. The Civic Cipher hosts have said that they haven’t heard from any of the rapper’s representatives about the trademark.