Following Kanye West’s controversial t-shirt idea, it turns out the rapper doesn’t actually own the rights to the statement ‘White Lives Matter.’
The rights instead belong to the host of the racial justice radio show Civic Cipher, Ramses Ja. A listener of Ramses acquired the rights to the phrase shortly after West’s stunt at Paris Fashion Week and then passed it onto Ramses and his co-host.
Because of this, West hasn’t been able to sell his shirts in America.
Ramses and his co-host Quinton Ward were given the rights by this individual who thought that the phrase would be better in their hands, than Kanye’s.
“The listener did not want to be associated with this in anyway, but they recognised the importance of ownership,” Ja told NPR. “You can prevent bad things from happening by owning it. You can shape outcomes.”
Ja goes on to explain that the individual tasked them with donating the potential money to certain organisations and that they fully intended to come through on it.
Speaking with TMZ, Ramses has stated just how much Kanye would have to fork up to obtain the rights.
“It’s important to bear in mind, right now we’re not looking for that. We’re not soliciting that. We don’t anticipate that as an outcome,” says Ramses.
Instead, Ramses is hoping that the rights could be sold to benefit charities.
“We were tasked with doing the most good, with this maneuver.”
“If there was a person, say for instance, who came forward and said ‘I would like to offer you a billion dollars for this mark,’ there is a lot more… Cause we were charged with donating that money. We have to spread that money around to different black orgs.”
“We were tasked with weighing what that number could be… A billion dollars might do more good.”
When asked if he would take legal action against Kanye if he began selling the ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts, Ramses had a blunt response.
“We have a lawyer that would take legal action against anyone who infringes on our trademarked material, yes.”
“You have to be in business to protect your trademark but there is no requirement that says you have to be successful in business. And so, at present I am not promoting where you can find and acquire [the ‘White Lives Matter’] shirts.”
“If a person were to find [the t-shirts for sale], they might discover that it is not priced in a way that most people can afford.”