Murdered Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery’s mom has angrily accused Kanye West of helping “support and legitimize extremist behavior” with his “White Lives Matter” fashion stunt.
Wanda Cooper-Jones told Rolling Stone that she feels “extreme disappointment” with the rapper, who privately supported her family after her 25-year-old son was shot dead after being trailed and cut off by three white men in 2020.
Ye’s T-shirt stunt — which he said was to highlight how Black Lives Matter was a “scam” — “flies directly in the face” of what he had previously told her family, Arbery’s mom told the rock mag in a statement via her attorney, Lee Merritt.
“As a result of his display, ‘White Lives Matter’ started trending in the US, which would direct support and legitimize extremist behavior,” the statement said.
That extremism is much “like the behavior that took the life of her son,” the statement insisted, referring to Arbery’s murderers, who were all also convicted of federal hate crimes.
“This mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement and his now denunciation of the movement as some sort of hoax flies directly in the face” of what Ye told Cooper-Jones, Merritt said.
“It’s confusing for her” and “confusing for the families to receive his support privately, but publicly to set us all back,” the attorney said.
Merritt confirmed that West’s support included money for the family of Arbery, as well as that of Jemel Roberson, a black security guard fatally shot by a cop in 2018. He did not disclose the amount.
Rolling Stone said that the star paid out a total of at least $2 million to them as well as the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and also struggling businesses in his hometown of Chicago.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represents the families of Floyd and Taylor, did not respond to the mag’s requests for comment.
Arbery was shot dead by Travis McMichael, who was with his father, Gregory McMichael, as they followed him as he ran through a mostly white neighborhood near Brunswick on Feb. 23, 2020.
Father and son as well as their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan — who filmed the fatal confrontation — were all convicted of murder and later hate crimes.