Canadian Brand Attempts To Make Statement By Appropriating Black Lives Matter

Douglas Muir

David McNew/Getty Images

#BlackLivesMatter is the cornerstone of racial issues in America. The hashtag and social justice group were founded in 2012 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, which was then followed by a string of other race-based violence. According to the Black Lives Matter organization’s official website, “#BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.”

Since their formation, #BlackLivesMatter has been a powerful hashtag used for speaking out against various racists moments in America and around the world. Most recently, the BLM movement was a major voice in the outcry of support for Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer. The officer was recently found not guilty in a court, despite many critics saying he was acting out of unnecessary force.

I wish that was the word that comes to mind. #PhilandloCastile #BlackLivesMatter #WeMatter https://t.co/G7Ybfb3Tfo

— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) June 21, 2017

The hashtag goes farther than just acts of violence towards black people, as it also provides an outlet for all cases of injustice. The movement’s website further divulges its meaning, “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.”

The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag is extremely powerful. So when Canadian luxury brand Ports 1961 debuted shirts at their 2018 spring presentation that said “Every Color Matters” and “Only Love Matters,” people were not happy.

When Ports 1961 basically does a repurposed 'All Lives Matter' collection + puts all the #resist pieces on the Black models. V token-y. pic.twitter.com/GBNKgnNjHC

— Cherise M. (@ChicReese) June 17, 2017

The Ports 1961 spring 18 runway adds insult to murder. #PhilandloCastile pic.twitter.com/0YgvQdL54P

— Antwaun Sargent (@Sirsargent) June 17, 2017

Meanwhile, someone should have protested Ports 1961 because these "Every Color Matters" et "Only Love Matters" shirts are in poor taste pic.twitter.com/sWRimaYNe7

— GoodGalReRe (@_reneebu) June 20, 2017

The whole point of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is to bring visibility to the many racial injustices of the world and to give people of color a platform. By saying “all lives matter” or “only love matters,” this brand is only attempting to silence those who are being marginalized. In general, #BlackLivesMatter is a lot bigger than just a trend and shouldn’t be packaged as one, on a runway or otherwise.

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