Kanye Can’t Sell “White Lives Matter” Tees Because 2 Black Men Own Trademark: Report

As of Oct. 28, two activists/radio hosts officially own the trademark, and they discussed Kanye’s recent controversy. “It’s hurtful.”

BYErika Marie
Kanye Can’t Sell “White Lives Matter” Tees Because 2 Black Men Own Trademark: Report

For years, Kanye West has been a character that hasn't cared if he offends. There was a time when he disrupted television programs to declare that "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, but these days, his message has shifted. West is currently embroiled in a scandal that has reportedly caused him to lose $2 billion in deals, and the controversy was sparked with a Paris Fashion Week appearance.

It was his YZYSZY9 collection that stirred the pot for Ye after he debuted his White Lives Matter t-shirts. As if the message itself wasn't enough to rub people the wrong way, West doubled down as he advocated for WLM and later told Piers Morgan, "There's nobody that gets judged more than a straight white male."

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

West's anti-Black Lives Matter stance could be lucrative for him, especially in a season where companies are vowing to sever ties indefinitely. People believed that the first order of his money-making operation would be marketing those luxury WLM tees independently, but according to a new report from Rolling Stone, Ye cannot legally sell the design because two Black men already own the trademark.

Civic Cipher radio show hosts Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward revealed that they're the legal owners of the phrase "White Lives Matter."

Read More: Kanye West & Ian Connor Give “White Lives Matter” Shirts To L.A.’s Homeless

“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 said. “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.”

The first owner trademarked the phrase in 2020, but RS reported that "as of Oct. 28, the owner decided to hand over the trademark to the two men."

“If we were to sell that trademark, for whatever amount of money, we could donate that money to causes that we feel would benefit Black people, like the NAACP or Black Lives Matter organizations,” Ja added. “Because, 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.”

Ja added: “It’s hurtful, 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 George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.”

For more on this, make sure to read: Kanye West Talks MAGA, ‘White Lives Matter’ & More On Fox News: “It Was Funny”


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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.