Kanye West is ‘not alone’ in his skepticism about the Black Lives Matter movement, a leading black professor has said.
The rapper’s views are echoed by African-American communities across the country despite the ‘damage’ his actions may cause, warned political scientist Tatishe M. Nteta.
While the 45-year-old singer does not hold the beliefs traditionally held by black people across the United States, there will be people in communities who agree with him, he added.
It comes after West was criticized for revealing a ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt at his fashion show in Paris yesterday.
Father-of-four Kanye posed for a photo wearing the controversial outfit with right-wing personality Candace Owens.
The Black Lives Matter organization seized the opportunity to slam the rapper, claiming he was blowing a ‘performative dog whistle’.
The rapper and designer slammed the global cause on Instagram after wearing a provocative ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt at his surprise Yeezy fashion show in Paris on Monday.
Professor Tatishe M. Nteta said the ‘white supremacy mantra’ on Kanye’s shirts at the fashion show has further alienated him from the majority of African Americans and what they believe
Nteta said he is ‘very skeptical’ that BLM will ever reach the heights it reached in 2020 – but Kanye’s controversial shirt and comments have thrust the idea back into the forefront of public opinion.
A University of Massachusetts Amherst poll showed support for the movement’s goals had fallen from 48 percent to 31 percent in May, and there has been a steady decline over the past two years — including among blacks in the United States.
Professor Nteta, who conducted the poll earlier this year, told DailyMail.com: ‘Kanye West in some ways expresses a sentiment that some aspects and sections of the American public believe and support.
‘But at the same time, over the past few years, Kanye West has expressed very conservative views. In some ways it’s not surprising.’
He said a lack of hierarchy and a series of high-profile scandals regarding BLM leaders and funding have contributed to the decline in support for the movement.
But in Mr Nteta’s view, this is now the third time West has shown that he is no longer the same ‘progressive’ artist that the public knew at the beginning of his musical career.
Eyes first turned when West, who recently divorced Kim Kardashian, met and embraced former President Donald Trump, and again when he made the controversial comment that ‘slavery was a choice’.
And now the ‘white supremacy’ of Kanye’s shirts at the fashion show has further alienated him from the majority of African Americans and what they believe in, the academic said.
However, there are people in the black community who understand and can relate to what Kanye has expressed.
Provocation: Kanye West sparked outrage on Tuesday after rejecting Black Lives Matter, the social movement created to protest social and racial injustices against his own community
He added: ‘It is a clear contradiction and very unpopular view among the African-American community. This tells me that Kanye has embraced conservative ideals.
‘Kanye has been given a number of opportunities by the African-American community to back down or express some level of disapproval of his comments.
“But again, this is now the third major event where Kanye expressed a position that is again diametrically opposed to the majority of African-Americans in this country, and the majority of progressives in this county.
‘We should no longer be surprised. He is a conservative person. He is not alone, among the nation, and not alone among African Americans.
‘The expectation that he will return to the old Kanye is one that is unlikely to happen.’
While some may see Kanye’s ‘Black Lives Matter was a scam’ post as a criticism of the organization rather than the beliefs behind it, Mr Nteta said that with the mantra ‘White Lives Matter’ is not the way to go about it .
The professor added: “You could read it in the sense that this is not a rejection, but it is a ‘we need to start having a conversation about the movement.’
“I don’t know that supporting a slogan that is diametrically opposed to the goal of the BLM movement, which is the protection of black lives, is the best way to go about it.”
Kanye West attends the Balenciaga Fashion Show Spring 2023 at the New York Stock Exchange on May 22, 2022
West has stirred up BLM supporters after his controversial show in Paris
Since the YZY Season 9 show in Paris on Monday, West has posted and deleted a series of messages on his Instagram, including one that read in all caps: ‘EVERYBODY KNOWS BLACK LIVES MATTER WAS A FIDEL, NOW IT’S OVER, YOU’RE WELCOME. ‘
Meanwhile, the official Black Lives Matter organization slammed West for trying to kill the movement – accusing his words of hurting ‘thousands of families fighting for justice’.
A spokesman for Black Lives Matter said: ‘The stunt was a clear mockery of Black Lives Matter, which has been measured as the largest racial justice movement in history.
‘Black models walked the runway wearing the same slogan. ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘White Lives Matter’ have long served as violent retorts to the Black Lives Matter movement, used by white supremacists and hate groups including the Ku Klux Klan.
‘In a follow-up statement, Kanye was clear that he intended to kill the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘Black Lives Matter Grassroots sees this as a teachable moment. Political education is at the heart of what we do.
“While some may see Kanye and Candace’s stunt as a distraction, we recognize that it hurts thousands of families fighting for justice for loved ones killed by state-sanctioned violence.
‘It can spread toxic confusion and be used to legitimize violent assaults on black people.
‘Fighting misinformation while continuing to do the hard work that liberation requires is nothing new for us.
‘Kanye West and Candace Owens sent a performative dog whistle to millions. Kanye knows that ‘white lives’ have never been oppressed.
“Blacks, on the other hand, are at the bottom of virtually every economic, social and political measure due to centuries of individual and institutional racism.
Professor Tatishe M. Nteta said ‘we should no longer be surprised’ by Kanye West’s comments about black lives as he is clearly not the same ‘progressive’ artist he was at the beginning of his career. This follows the background that support for the BLM movement has slowly declined over the past year
‘Building a world of black freedom means upward systems that harm and building new systems of care. Ultimately, this benefits everyone. When black people become free, everyone becomes free.’
Several celebrities and politicians have also come out against West following his Paris runway and Instagram posts.
Vogue’s fashion editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson posted on her Instagram a scathing of the ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirts modeled on West’s runway, which included calling the collection ‘deeply offensive, violent and dangerous’.
‘I’m shaking…gathering my thoughts,’ she wrote, before labeling West’s actions as ‘indefensible behaviour’.
She later wrote that she was among those who ‘suffered in that room’ and worked through the ‘trauma’ of the experience.
But West then ridiculed her in a series of posts on Instagram – and questioned her own fashion sense.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid was quick to defend Karefa-Johnson against West’s online attacks, writing: ‘You wish you had a percentage of her intellect [sic].’
‘You have no idea, haha… If there is actually a point to any of your shit, she might be the only person who could save you. As if the ‘honour’ of being invited to your show should deter anyone from voicing their opinion..? Laugh out loud. You are a bully and a joke,” she added.
In the hip-hop community, outspoken rapper Boosie Badazz, who famously bragged about paying prostitutes to perform oral sex on his son, then 12, and nephew, then 13, called West.
Boosie said: ‘After all we’ve been through as a race, you put on this disrespectful sh**t? You’re not afraid of how black people are dead and suffering at the hands of the white man, now Bush says he doesn’t like black people…really not.’