US rapper and fashion designer Kanye West has found himself in the cross-hairs on social media this week after naming two of his new Yeezy sneakers after Islamic angels in a move slammed as “disrespecting Islam”.
The celebrity artist, who created his brand in 2009 in collaboration with Adidas, named the pairs “Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil” and “Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Asriel.”
YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 ISRAFIL. AVAILABLE AUGUST 22 IN ASIA PACIFIC, EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA AT https://t.co/SNOmpVaWg8, ON THE ADIDAS APP IN SELECT COUNTRIES, AND IN SELECT ADIDAS STORES. pic.twitter.com/TqUvKf2ion— adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) August 17, 2020
In Islam, Israfil is one of four archangels, usually depicted with a horn, which he will blow on the day of judgement. Muslims believe Asriel, typically spelt as Azrael, is the angel of death, who is said to transport the souls of the deceased.
Users took to social media to slam the announcement by the ‘Jesus Walks’ rapper and Adidas for “making a mockery of Islam.
@kanyewest words fail to describe your “thought process” but I am appalled at @adidas for not doing its due diligence & naming Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil & Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Asriel - names of angels in Islam. #YEEZYBOOST350V2 #Disgraceful #adidasapologize— Zain Qureshi (@ZQureshi85) August 23, 2020
Change the name, this is beyond offensive and I hope Muslims boycott this brand!— Bellahay (@BellzGaia) August 23, 2020
This is disrespectful to Muslims. But other religions should equally be outraged. Israfil and Azrael are Arch angels in all the abrahmaic religions.— Söldiiier (@Soldiiier) August 25, 2020
I cannot support ADIDAS as along as you are associated with Kanye West.— jbeckett (@jbecks76) August 17, 2020
He is sick and needs help. Adidas has done nothing to make this situation any better.
Silence is compliance.
A petition was started, urging Adidas to change the name of the sneakers.
Others, however, wondered why the naming of the shoes should be seen as disrespectful.
How is it offensive? Did Kanye or Adidas say anything bad about the angels?— Robin D (@ro_binnnn) August 25, 2020
I don't understand why people find this offensive, please explain. All he did was name it after something.— Coby (@dijiboy1234) August 20, 2020
Nine-time Grammy Award-winning American rapper and record producer, Kanye West grabbed the fashion world’s attention after debuting sneakers designed in collaboration with Nike in 2009.
The shoes, retailing at over $200, were released in limited quantities and instantly sold out.
He then switched to Germany's Adidas as his partner, with Forbes recently reporting the celebrity artist and husband of television personality Kim Kardashian has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, in part attributed to his lucrative sneaker company, Yeezy.
West gets “a 15 percent royalty on wholesale, according to sources familiar with the deal, plus a marketing fee,” according to Forbes.