“White Lives Matter” is the trademark of two black men. In an interview with Great V, The hosts of Civic Cipher, an Arizona-based radio show dedicated to racial justice, revealed a few days ago that they own a trademark for a phrase that Kanye West tried to use in the new Yeezy line.

“The way the law works is either you own the phrases or people can make money off them,” said Ramses Jha, who co-hosts Civic Cipher with Quinton Ward. Great V. “The person who first bought it didn’t really enjoy owning it because the goal wasn’t necessarily to get rich on it; the goal was to make sure other people didn’t get rich off of that pain.”

The radio presenters explained that whoever bought the trademark in 2020 bought it to keep it out of the hands, not to cash in on the phrase. But on October 28, the owner decided to transfer the trademark to two blacks.

“If we were to sell this trademark for any amount of money, we could donate that money to causes that we feel will benefit black people, like the NAACP or Black Lives Matter organization,” said Jha. “Because, realistically, we can’t stop making shirts right now. We can write a cease and desist on the people selling these shirts right now, but it’s a big monster that requires a team of lawyers and thousands of dollars, which we don’t have.”

The acquisition of the trademark comes after West asked models and Candace Owens to parade in the T-shirt during the launch of his Yeezy line. White supremacists—like the KKK and the Aryan Revival Society—have overtaken the phrase “Black Lives Matter” used by black people protesting police brutality and changed it. The Anti-Defamation League assigned this phrase to the category of hate slogans.

Jha added that West did not reach out to him or his lawyers. “It’s hurtful, but it wasn’t a surprise because I know Kanye has been moving in this direction for a while. I’m doing my best to try to remember the Kanye I knew in 2004 and 2005,” Jah said of West’s recent actions. “That Kanye who said George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Shortly after launch, the family of Ahamud Arbery, who was killed by two white men, condemned West’s use of the phrase. Diddy and journalists like Vogue also criticized him for it. He had been following the sight ever since, saying this George Floyd was not killed by Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee along with the spread anti-Semitism online and in interviews. (He is from that time apologized for Floyd comment after his family threatened to sue.)

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