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Kanye West latest controversies: what is the limit to freedom of speech?

ARTICLE BY JULIA DARA
@fashinnovation.nyc

KKanye West and his artistic abilities won’t be the focus of this article — since this is one of the main arguments that his defenders use. Throughout decades, he broke records with his albums, stayed on top of parades and radio, and got thousands of people on his concerts on worldwide tours. And it didn’t stop him from having controversial attitudes.

The main topic here is how a public person can instigate bullying and mistake it for freedom of speech. In this article, we are going to discuss the recent acts of Ye — formerly known as Kanye West, and how he takes advantage of a huge fan base to spread hate.

THE WHITE LIVES MATTER T-SHIRT & WHY IT IS DANGEROUS

Lately, Ye has been pretty sure of his opinions online, whether it’s about the fight with Gap, or his personal issues with Kim Kardashian, his children’s mother.

But something negatively impressive happened in the last few days that started on the catwalks and took over his social media: Have you ever won­dered about the purpose of strengthening a phrase that says “White Lives Matter”?

We can only think of one: contributing to erasing the Black Lives Matter movement in fighting racism.

Since 2015, “white supremacists in several states, especially members of the Texas-based white su­premacist group Aryan Renaissance Society, have promoted the slogan as part of a loose campaign to popularize the phrase.”

On Paris Fashion Week, Kanye West hosted a surprise Yeezy show, showcasing his Season 9 collection. Before the models appeared, he gave a speech wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt. His attitude raised opinions on the internet.

Even though it was “a joke,” as he said himself, considering his influence on the music and fashion industries, it doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. After all, a racist person can use Kanye’s attitudes to justify being… racist.

GABRIELLA-KAREFA JOHNSON OPENLY CRITICIZE KANYE WEST

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson is a stylist and global editor for Vogue. Seeing the phrase stamped on the t-shirt, she shared her opinion on social media. “Here comes the s***. I’m furious.” She described it as “indefensible behavior.”

Karefa-Johnson also said that while she could see how West might have considered the shirt a “Du­champian” provocation, “It didn’t land and it was deeply offensive, violent and dangerous.”

Raising such a topic without explicitly showing your critical points can cause people to develop their own ideas. Well, it is not wrong to instigate critical thinking. But polemical discourses involv­ing social issues open the door to delegitimizing a real movement.

CYBERBULLYING

Kanye West showed his insensitivity in dealing with criticism.

He posted a photograph saying, “this is not a fashion person,” and mocking Karefa-Johnson’s shoes. Shortly after the comments, industry

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