Rolling Stone is detailing what goes on in Kanye West’s Yeezy company and one funny thing caught my attention and that’s one could be fired for liking rapper Drake.
Inside a bustling Los Angeles showroom, where staffers would work up to 15-hour days and could be fired by West on a whim, the rapper focused his attention on preparing for Paris Fashion Week at the start of October, where he planned to show what would become his ill-fated and inflammatory Yeezy Season 9 collection. West was going through designs of apparel that featured heavy hoods, tight snoods, and face-covering masks when he casually remarked that “skinheads and Nazis were his greatest inspiration,” a Yeezy employee in the room tells Rolling Stone.
One former senior Adidas executive with Yeezy tells Rolling Stone comments like these were something they had heard before from West.(Recent reports from CNN and NBC alleged that Yeezy staffers heard West praise Hitler and use antisemitic language. At least two employees allegedly received settlements from West, including one over workplace complaints.)
At the time, the Yeezy staffer says they disregarded the skinhead-and-Nazi comment, feeling like they understood West’s artistic vision. “It’s a point of inspiration for him because I think there’s so much pain that comes from that place, especially for Black people,” the staffer says. “The minute he turns it around, uses it, [and] puts himself in a position of making money off of it, I feel like he does something to it — he takes ownership over it.” Still, the staffer felt West didn’t always know how to accurately express his vision, or simply didn’t care enough to elaborate his thought process to others.
The remark was only a hint of what would come in subsequent weeks. Two Yeezy employees tell Rolling Stone about the conversations that would turn into the controversial “White Lives Matter” T-shirts. Before leaving for Paris, the working idea was for the shirt to have a message that touched on race along the lines of “We Are N*ggerish,” one of the sources claims.
West’s White Lives Matter stunt in Paris would kick off a tumultuous six-week period where he lost both his billionaire status and the respect of fashion and music industry peers over his continued antisemitic comments. At the end of his scorched-earth mission — which saw West aligning himself even further with right-wing polemicists like Owens and Tucker Carlson — he finally got what he apparently wanted: He gained full control over Yeezy going forward when Adidas and Gap cut him loose.
WEEKS BEFORE West was about to show his first collection, he was at his studio space with his team, a talented crew of designers and apparel-makers that had been lured away from Europe’s top fashion houses. And, as West often did, he was playing his own music through the studio’s speakers.
After someone suggested he play something else, West looked around the room, landing on a nearby Yeezy employee and asking them what he should play. The staffer, who leaned more punk and rock than hip-hop, tells Rolling Stone they were caught off-guard and fumbled for an answer. “I thought, ‘Oh, he’s a rapper, I should probably mention some rap,’” the early staffer tells Rolling Stone. The staffer landed on Drake. “Big mistake — the next day I was fired,” the former staffer claims.
His anger at us in everyday interactions was just inappropriate, and honestly an HR nightmare.
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