Two Arizona Black radio hosts may impede Kanye West from selling “White Lives Matter” T-shirts in the US.
Last month, Ramses Ja & Quinton Ward successfully registered a trademark for the phrase “Civic Cipher” on clothing.
The radio hosts found the decision to become the new owners of the “White Lives Matter” trademark challenging, yet did so after anticipating someone stood to gain significant profit. Ward informed CNN even with West’s hurtful words he has dedicated supporters who buy his products quickly.
He feared the phrase would remain popular, with ‘no one’ using it in future months being best-case.
The radio hosts take responsibility for safeguarding the trademark from misuse.
To prevent White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, profiting from a “hate slogan” associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, they sought to prevent its use.
Last month, West filed a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. This coincided with him wearing a shirt at Paris fashion week featuring a Pope John Paul II image alongside the phrase “White Lives Matter”.
Data from USPTO shows the trademark was transferred to Civic Cipher LLC weeks after initial registration. CNN contacted the original owner for comment. Civic Cipher informed CNN the trademark’s owner is a listener wanting anonymity.
Ja told CNN owning the trademark gives the exclusive right to sell clothing with the trademark. When they heard that West was “repopularising” the term, they wanted to prevent others from profiting.
Ja and Ward speculate the anonymous listener relinquished rights to the phrase due to its viral resurgence, not feeling fit for championing it themselves.
West legally changed his name to Ye and, has made numerous contentious statements that have caused the Black community to be angered. Recent anti-Semitic words led companies to sever ties with him and his removal from Forbes Billionaires List.
Civic Cipher, a 2020 nationwide show to enable Black and brown people can have bold conversations, was established. Ja told CNN the Black community encompasses more than rap and singing, and their show extends beyond what one would hear on a hip-hop radio station. The radio show tackles issues such as police violence, housing inequality, environmental racism and poor maternal health outcomes impacting Black & brown communities.