Kanye West’s supporters have stood with the rapper through near-constant storms of controversy and problematic behavior — from relentless taunting of his ex-wife to calling slavery a choice and everything in between. Needless to say, they’ve learned how to pick their battles. But after West debuted a longsleeved “White Lives Matter” shirt during a showcase for his new Yeezy line at a YZY SZN 9 presentation in Paris, his friends in the fashion world have sided against him. Now, even Sean “Diddy” Combs has decided this is a fight he’s willing to speak up about — because it goes far beyond fashion.
“I am not about to be addressing every last thing that’s going on in the world on the internet, but the thing I do have to address is this ‘white lives matter’ t-shirt,” Diddy said in a recent Instagram video. “I’ve always been there, and I will always support my brother Kanye as a freethinker. But the ‘white lives matter’ t-shirt, I don’t rock with it, you know what I’m saying? I’m not with it.”
West debuted the shirt alongside participating guests that included conservative pundit Candace Owens and Lauryn Hill’s daughter Selah Marley, granddaughter of Bob Marley. Diddy originally addressed the antics during an appearance on The Breakfast Club, saying that as a freethinker, the rapper’s actions are often misconstrued. But in his latest post, the music mogul clarified his opinion, sharing his grievances before the joke went any further.
“Right now, all America has planned for us is poverty, incarceration, and death,” Diddy added. “So before I can get to any other lives matter – which all lives matter – but that Black Lives Matter, don’t play with it. Don’t wear the shirt. Don’t buy the shirt. Don’t play with the shirt. It’s not a joke.”
This had been weighing on his mind for a few days, having shared during his Breakfast Club appearance that he needed time to “get over this t-shirt.” He added: “Because right now, we’re the ones that are dying. There really ain’t no time for no other lives matter right now but the tribe. You have to be unapologetically Black and love your people and love your tribe first.”
Aside from the fashion perspective (Diddy previously released his own clothing line under the Sean John brand), Diddy and West go way back. In June, West made a surprise appearance at the BET Awards to pay tribute to Diddy, who was taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award, calling him his “favorite artist” and crediting him with having inspired “so many” of his life choices.
Despite the wave of criticism he’s received, West doubled down on his decision to debut the offensive t-shirt. Just last night, he seemingly bragged that his shirt got the most press out of any fashion week event. “Nothing happened but my t-shirt,” he wrote. “Remember my one t-shirt took allllll the attention.”
One thing he has yet to address, though? Accusations from emerging designers claiming that after they met with Kanye and his team, their work was lifted without their knowledge.