After receiving backlash for two days, Selah Marley, the granddaughter of the King of Reggae Bob Marley, seems to have had enough of the criticism about her sporting Kanye West’s “White Lives Matter” shirt at his Yeezy Fashion Show. Since the 23-year-old model was spotted wearing the rapper’s merch at the event, staged in Paris on Monday, Twitter users have been criticising her. Some Twitter users have described the move as “disgusting” and a disgrace to her late grandfather, “the world’s Black freedom fighter.”
Selah, daughter of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley, took to social media on Tuesday to address the issue. She began by saying, “The past 24 hours has allowed me to realize that most of yall are are stuck in a hive mind mentality.” She added that her critics are the type of people to do and think what the majority tells them. Hence, the sight of someone breaking free from “the agenda” triggers panic, which leads them to do whatever it takes to force that person into the box they think is right.
She also said, “All morale & empathy is eliminated due to the fact that you feel justified by your emotions. The victim becomes the victimizer. You can not bully me, manipulate me, or coax me into silence. Nor will you bully me into being who you want me to be. I don’t care how many tweets you make, DMs you send, or articles you write throughout all of the chaos, I have yet to speak on my experience.” Additionally, she told everyone that what she did was not without “deep thought & intention.”
Selah also shared screenshots of messages to the American rapper about the “White Lives Matter” movement and her desire to make bolder statements. In these messages, she told Kanye that she wanted them to “continue the conversation” that the “White Lives Matter” shirt started and “provide the necessary depth & clarity.” She also informed the rapper that, while she loves “taking risks & embracing freedom,” she wanted them to “show the purity” of their “intentions & provide healing” to their community. Kanye reacted to her posts by reposting what she said, showing his approval.
The White Lives Matter movement started in 2015 as a counteraction to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter movement gained popularity in 2014 after Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States, was fatally shot by a police officer. His passing inspired a number of protests and the use of the Black Lives Matter campaign. The movement gained momentum in 2020 after an African American man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer named Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. The two other officers kept on-lookers at a distance while the cop conducted this offence. Chauvin received a 22.5-year jail sentence with the possibility of supervised release after serving 15 years.
Twitter users have also called Selah out for being once a part of the BLM movement and now wearing a shirt that counteracts the movement. According to Twitter users, Selah had been a part of the mass Minneapolis protests held in honour of Floyd. One person tweeted that she was in the streets “dodging bullets and choking on smoke grenades for George Floyd” two years ago. The tweet went on to say that her grandfather was “flipping in his grave” at the sight of the “White Lives Matter” shirt.
There was also mention of her mother, Lauryn Hill, as someone said she was going against what her mother stands for. In a video titled “When I See Them I See Us” from 2015, Lauryn Hill was one of several celebrities who supported the Palestinian rights struggle in Israel. The #BlackLivesMatter appears throughout the video. Hill and Rohan Marley had five children together before they broke up in 2009.
Watch “When I See Them I See Us” below.