A songwriter on Kanye West‘s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ has stated their intention to donate their cut of publishing royalties to Black Lives Matter.
Esthero, the Canadian singer-songwriter who co-wrote the songs ‘Love Lockdown’, ‘Street Lights’ and ‘RoboCop’ on the hit 2008 album, made the offer as the backlash to Kanye wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt this week continues.
After making his catwalk debut at Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion Week show over the weekend, Kanye introduced his latest Yeezy line with his Yzy Season 9 event on Monday (October 3).
During the live-streamed presentation, the rapper wore a longsleeve shirt with the words “White Lives Matter” emblazoned on the back. As Rolling Stone points out, the phrase – an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan used to protest racial injustice, discrimination and police brutality – has been adopted by white supremacist organisations in recent years, and is categorised by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan.
In response to the criticism, Kanye declared: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam.”
In a tweet shared yesterday (October 4), Esthero shared her support for Black Lives Matter following the controversy, offering to donate her royalties from her work with Kanye to the organisation.
“I would like to donate my portion of the publishing from the 808s and Heartbreak album to [Black Lives Matter Los Angeles,” she wrote. “Please get at me so we can start the process.”
I would like to donate my portion of the publishing from the 808s and Heartbreak album to @BLMLA. Please get at me so we can start the process. #blacklivesmatter
— esthero (@theRealEsthero) October 4, 2022
After photos emerged from the Paris event, artists including Jaden Smith and Boosie responded to West’s controversial choice of attire. The former shared a series of tweets explaining that he left West’s event because he didn’t “feel the message”, declaring that “Black Lives Matter” and “True Leaders Lead”.
West has a long history of making controversial statements when it comes to politics and race in recent years, particularly in 2018. That year, he voiced his support for Donald Trump (publicly wearing the campaign’s red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat on several occasions) and endorsed Owens on Twitter.
West also drew backlash in April 2018 when he claimed, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” A few months later, in August of that year, West apologised for both his comments around slavery and his choice to wear the MAGA hat.