Yeezy is a huge brand globally, especially in the US. The brand is owned by American rapper Kanye West. Adidas has been collaborating with Kanye for a long time. Yeezy shoes are sold on Adidas outlets and digital stores.
Recently, Yeezy has made quite a stir in the media. The brand has become controversial after its owner Kanye West made a comment about slavery. West infamously told TMZ that, “slavery sounds like a choice”. This comment sparked an outpour of rage on social media. Many human rights activists and fans are asking Adidas to cut ties with West.
This made me wonder, are Yeezys really inspired by slave shoes? Stay tuned to find out.
✦ Why Are Kanye’s Shoes Called Yeezys?
The name Yeezy has a history and it has a meaning. Kanye has huge respect for his mentor Jay-Z. The name Yeezy is inspired by the name Jay-Z gave himself. Jay-Z called himself J-Hov. The name is derived from the Hebrew word Jehovah. Jehovah means God.
Kanye considers himself the king of the rap industry. He liked the name Jay-Z had, So, Kanye chose the name ‘Yeezus’. Yeezus is derived from the name of Jesus. Kanye picked the name ‘Yeezus’ to state himself as the Father of the rap industry.
Kanye’s sixth studio album was also named ‘Yeezus.’ It was a groundbreaking album which launched in 2013 and was a huge success.
There is a hip-hop nickname trend of adding ‘eezy’ to the letters of the last name. Many other artists in the rap industry follow this trend including Lil Wayne (Weezy), Christopher Morris Brown (Breezy), Jay Wayne Jenkins (Jeezy), Drake Graham (Dreezy) etc.
Kanye’s nickname is Ye. In 2018, he released his 8th studio album under the same name. Following the hip-hop trend, Kanye West named his brand Yeezy by adding ‘eezy’ to his nickname Ye.
In February 2015, Adidas started collaborating with Yeezy. You will find Yeezy shoes in Adidas stores. The collaboration is still going strong amidst all debates. But before that, Yeezy had a collaboration with Nike from 2009 to 2014. During that time, Yeezy launched 3 sneakers for Nike.
✦ Are Yeezys Based on Slave Shoes?
The Slave shoes vs Yeezy debate took social media by storm. But what is the truth? Do slave shoes really inspire Yeezys? Let’s tell you about slave shoes first.
✦ What Are Slave Shoes?
There were different forms of slave shoes in the past. In the southern part of the United States, slave masters forced their slaves to wear iron-made shoes as part of their punishment. The slave masters forced the slaves to wear them so they don’t disobey their masters.
Many Yeezy shoes have spikes on the bottom. The slave shoes had spikes on the inside. The spikes were designed to cut the feet of the wearers. Just imagining this makes my feet hurt. See the picture below and you will find some similarities between Yeezys and slave shoes.
✦ Slave Shoes vs Yeezy- What Is the Truth?
There is still no confirmation about Yeezys being inspired by slave shoes. But look at the picture above, you may find some similarities between the slave shoes and Yeezy. Kanye has made no comments regarding the inspiration of Yeezys. Then again, we don’t know Kanye to be a sweet talker. Even if they were, I don’t see Kanye ever admitting it.
At this point, I cannot be sure and blame Kanye for basing his shoes on slave shoes. That will be unwise and unfair to West. There is not enough evidence to blame Kanye for basing his shoes on slave shoes.
The fans and social workers don’t always speak the truth either. You may have seen a shoe collection surfacing on Facebook that looks like Yeezys, except they are from 300 B.C.
Many people are saying these are slave shoes which is completely false. The shoes in the picture were worn by the Roman elites and seen as a symbol of power. It’s crazy how much false information can be found on social media.
As there is no conclusive evidence yet, I will say Yeezy shoes are not inspired by slave shoes. There are reasons to believe this as Kanye is a black man himself and I don’t see him liking slavery. However, he did make an awful comment. At this point, I’m not sure but I will give the benefit of doubt to Kanye West.
✦ Is Adidas Cutting Ties with Yeezy?
Many people took to social media to protest the rude comments of Kanye West about slavery. Thousands of people signed a petition in 2018 and started pressurising Adidas to cut ties with Adidas. However, Adidas continues to work with Yeezy till today. Let’s try to understand why Adidas wants to keep working with Yeezy.
Adidas is well aware of the comments made by rapper Kanye West. Adidas don’t support racism or the comments Kanye made. However, Adidas is not planning to drop the partnership with Yeezy anytime soon.
The decision is strictly for business purposes. Kanye’s brand Yeezy has had a fundamental impact on Adidas’s performance in the US market.
Kanye has helped Adidas shape the interests of the young generation in the brand. His exclusive lines for Adidas have been really popular. After Kanye West made the rude comment on slavery, CNBC sat with Adidas CEO Rorsted. The broadcaster asked him a series of questions including Adidas’s stand on the situation and about cutting ties with the rapper.
Adidas was strictly a sports company in the beginning. However, athletic products and fashionwear contribute a major part of the overall revenue of the company. Adidas is thankful to Kanye for helping the company to succeed in this segment. As the athleisure and fashion trend is not slowing down, Adidas has no reason for cutting ties with the rapper. But the CEO said Adidas will have a talk with Kanye regarding the matter. There is no update on the situation so far.
There is no doubt that what Kanye said is rude. The slave shoes share some similarities with Yeezy shoes as well. But the situation is confusing. The fans were furious after Kanye made the comments. They signed a petition and pressurized Adidas to cut ties with him. However, there is not enough evidence to prove Kanye West is guilty. Kanye’s brand has been a major part of Adidas’s success in the US. So, it makes sense for Adidas to keep working with him.