The reason Ye — can’t legally sell his “White Lives Matter” T-shirts is not because the phrase is designated as hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League. It’s because two Black men own the legal trademark.
Ramses Ja and Quinton Ward, two Black radio hosts in Phoenix, Arizona, were gifted the trademark from a longtime, anonymous listener of their show, Civic Cipher. The listener procured ownership of the phrase early last month to ensure it didn’t fall into the wrong hands, and offered to transfer the trademark to Ja and Ward in September. It officially entered their possession on Oct. 28, giving them sole ownership over the phrase and the ability to sue anyone who uses the saying for financial gain.