Fashion editor and director Gabriella Karefa-Johnson was one of many in attendance at Kanye West‘s Monday (Oct. 3) Paris Fashion Week show who was shocked by the rapper’s incorporation of “White Lives Matter” shirts in his latest Yeezy collection. But when she joined others in speaking out about her dislike for the controversial clothing after the show, it was Karefa-Johnson specifically whom Kanye targeted with insulting Instagram posts mocking her appearance.
One of Ye’s posts featured a full-body photo of Karefa-Johnson — who’s overseen editorial content for Vogue, Garage Magazine and more — smiling into the camera, sporting a long brown trench coat, lace-up boots and a bright blue handbag. “This is not a fashion person,” he captioned the photo, posted the day after his Yeezy Paris Fashion Week show.
“You speak on Ye Ima speak on you, ask Trevor Noah,” the rapper added, referencing his March social media conflict with the Daily Show host.
Kanye then posted a cropped version of the same photo, zoomed in on Karefa-Johnson’s shoes. “I KNOOOOOOW ANNA HAAAATES THESE BOOTS,” he wrote, likely referencing Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
The posts follow criticism shared by Karefa-Johnson on her Instagram account, where she posted a video of one of Kanye’s Black models walking the runway in Paris in a WLM long-sleeve — which she called “indefensible behavior” on her Story. Kanye had also shown up to the event wearing a similar shirt.
“I guess I get what he tried to do — he thought it was duchampian. It wasn’t,” she wrote on the day of Kanye’s show. “It didn’t land and it was deeply offensive, violent and dangerous.”
“The tshirts this man conceived, produced, and shared with the world are pure violence,” she continued. “There is no excuse, there is no art here. As we all work through the trauma of this moment, especially those of us who suffered in that room, let’s have some grace for one another.”
Kanye followed his posts mocking Karefa-Johnson by sharing a captionless screenshot of text messages with “Mowalola” — presumably designer Mowalola Ogunlesi — who told him to have a “real conversation about the tee” with Karefa-Johnson instead of insulting her. Then, in his next post, he wrote in all-caps: “EVERYONE’S GOT A RIGHT TO AN OPINION RIGHT THERE’S MINE.”
Billboard has reached out to Karefa-Johnson for comment.
Before it was taken down, the official White Lives Matter website proclaimed that “the white way of life” was being threatened by “homosexuality and [racially] mix[ed] relationships,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that fights for racial justice.
“The danger is that, this very premise, the idea that white supremacy is in danger of extinction is what justifies mass incarceration, murder en masse, indeed even the advent of slavery,” Karefa-Johnson also wrote on her Instagram Story.
One big name in fashion to come to Karefa-Johnson’s defense was supermodel Gigi Hadid, who took to her Instagram Story to condemn Ye’s treatment of the editor. “[Karefa-Johnson is] one of the most important voices in our industry,” she wrote. “And could school that disgraceful man in more ways than he knows.”