Who are Ramses Ja and Quintin Ward? Meet the OWNERS of 'White Lives Matter' trademark

The phrase 'White Lives Matter' is not owned or trademarked by Kanye West, so selling any products based on that would mount to a crime

Who are Ramses Ja and Quintin Ward? Meet the OWNERS of 'White Lives Matter' trademark
Kanye West can’t legally sell 'White Lives Matter' merchandise because two Black men now own the legal trademark (@civiccipher/Instagram)
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Kanye West' proudly flaunted his 'White Lives Matter' t-shirt a few weeks ago and it created a storm on social media. So the next question was when do his fans get to wear the same kind or any other gear that bears the phrase? Turns out, that won't be happening because of a slight technicality. The phrase 'White Lives Matter' is not owned or trademarked by the rapper, so selling any products based on that would mount to a crime. So who owns it then? Two Phoenix-based radio jockeys Quinton Ward and Ramses Ja have now come out and claimed that they possess the rights to the trademark and there's a reason why they did so.

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In early October, West debuted his 'White Lives Matter' shirt at his YZY SZN 9 gig in Paris. The provocative message was printed in strong white letters on the back of the long black-sleeved tee. Candace Owens​, a conservative broadcaster, also appeared alongside West, dressed in a matching white t-shirt, as reported by Daily Beast. Some of the models on the show also donned Yeezy outfits with the tagline. The day after the event, West took to Instagram to reiterate his point of view, writing, "Black Lives Matter was a scam." A few days later, he wore the shirt to his daughter North West's game.

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A few days later, the fashion mogul told Tucker Carlson on Fox News that he thought the whole thing was funny. "I thought the shirt was a funny shirt,” West said. “I thought the idea of me wearing it was funny.” The tagline was created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Anti-Defamation League considers it hate speech. 

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Who owns the White Lives Matter trademark?

Kanye integrated the words "White Lives Matter" into his most recent creations, however, he can't legally sell any clothes with the phrase as Phoenix radio jockeys Quinton Ward and Ramses Ja possess the rights to the term "White Lives Matter". On October 28, Ja and Ward, hosts of the Phoenix radio show Civic Cipher, were granted the legal trademark by a loyal fan — who had owned the phrase for a few weeks — who secured it to guarantee it didn't fall into the hands of someone looking to profit from hate speech, such as Kanye West.

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“The way the law works is either you’re owning phrases, or it’s up for grabs for people to make money off them. This person who first procured it didn’t really love owning it, because the purpose was not necessarily to get rich off of it,” Ja told Black-led nonprofit news outlet Capital B. “The purpose was to make sure that other people didn’t get rich off of that pain.”

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Indeed, Civic Cipher obtained ownership of the trademark once it was secured on October 3, according to the federal government's trademark database. West or his staff, according to Ja, have not contacted the radio duo about the trademark. He stated that their goal is broader than Kanye, focusing on structural racism throughout the country. “We’ve got people running for office right now, and we have people trying to suppress our vote and disenfranchise us,” he told Capital B. “I can’t spend all my time worrying about what Kanye is saying.”

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