Kanye West has a few words for Gap. "I'm not releasing nothing on Gap 'till I'm on the board," he tweeted on Wednesday. West's attempt to break into and shape the fashion industry has been replete with controversy and outbursts from the artist, mainly surrounding the structure and makeup of corporate boardrooms.
Earlier this summer, it was announced the co-branded Yeezy Gap line would launch in 2021. At the time, the company's global head of Gap Brand, Mark Breitbard, said, "We are excited to welcome Kanye back to the Gap family as a creative visionary, building on the aesthetic and success of his Yeezy brand and together defining a next-level retail partnership." But, as Adidas has learned since partnering with Kanye in 2016 , dealing with him isn't and will never be easy.
West wants more — Breitbard's praise for the "creative visionary" alone won't cut it for West. Prior to the Wednesday tweet, West told his followers on Twitter: "I don't have a board seat at Gap [and] I don't have a board seat a Adidas. Black board seats matter." This lack of board power has pushed West into openly criticizing these labels and earlier in September, he tweeted:
I am the head of Adidas [...] I will bring Adidas and Puma back together and bring me and [Jay Z] back together [...] All Pumas [sic] designs are embarrassingly trash but I will personally design Puma and Adidas and make everything OK.
At first glance, you might think that West is being West with his predilection for ranting in public and getting under others' skin for a dose of publicity. But underneath these rambunctious diatribes is a legitimate complaint about corporate board structures and how they frequently lack input from varying backgrounds. It's such a serious issue that Gap was hit with a lawsuit over alleged breach of fiduciary duty due to its all-white board of directors. The demand was similar to West's: put at least two Black members in your boardroom.
The show goes on — West's complaints took on a more charged tone after the Black Lives Matter protests this summer. At the time, Adidas had announced that it would increase diversity in its employee demographic by bringing on more Black and Latinx workers. But it wasn't lost on West that the diversity initiative did not include board member seats — which carries the most say and power in a company's vision and presence.
Despite not being in their boardrooms, West is not one to give up easily. Just a day after his Wednesday tweet, the musician fixed his eyes on a new project for the future, one that involves a sportswear company he's still deeply obsessed with: Nike. "My first pillar when I’m on the board of Adidas," he vowed on Twitter, "will be an Adidas [and] Nike collaboration to support community growth." What community growth, you ask? Only time — and West — can tell.