As provocative as his music, rapper Kanye West’s merchandise has always been designed to shock and awe, which is presumably why the logo for his latest spiritual album, Donda, features a Star of David with a cross in the middle.
The shirts, which were sold for $100 apiece, had the words “Donda” and the date of the event printed on them. They were limited edition merchandise from the musician’s stadium album listening. Complaints have recently surfaced alleging that the design was not in Kanye’s right to use.
Infinity G8ds, a music and clothing brand from Miami, Fl., that had been using a near-identical design of a cross inside of a Star of David for the past seven months, claimed that Kanye West ripped off their work for the “Donda” logo–even after they drove nine hours to Atlanta just to meet with him.
Randy Dawkins, the creative director behind Infinity G8ds, told The Daily Beast that, “it’s disappointing.”
Other than removing the infinity sign placed behind the cross in the Infinity G8ds logo, which has been on the group’s hoodies, sweatpants, and t-shirts since early March, Dawkins alleged that Kanye’s “Donda” logo is a blatant rip off of their design.
“We don’t have any bad vibes or bad feelings toward him, we actually like the dude,” he said. “But how he handled business? Well, that’s another story.”
Kanye West reportedly met Randy Dawkins in July through two of his personal chefs, Willie Wallace and Travis Reese. According to The Daily Beast, Travis Reese was an Infinity G8ds member, and Kanye West told the group to send over some ideas that he might be interested in.
Dawkins claimed that they sent Kanye five pieces from their latest line with the logo on it and that he has the number of the tracking shipment to prove it,. The Daily Beast confirmed that the delivery was successfully made. The two later spoke on a FaceTime call, where Kanye said that he loved the design and wanted to meet with him.
On July 31, the group drove from Miami to Atlanta to meet with Willie Wallace and Kanye, posting a photo on Instagram tagging the Infinity G8ds and writing “#Donda.”
Randy Dawkins said they spoke for 40 minutes and that “the conversation was pretty general,” with Kanye West asking about the group’s process.
Dawkins ate dinner with Kanye West after, who said he wanted to do business with them. Dawkins said that “at the end of the meeting, he told us he was going to keep in contact with us but never did.”
Travis Reese saw their logo on the merchandise of people walking in and out of the kitchen at the “Donda” listening event on Aug. 5. He immediately contacted Dawkins, who later said that all of sudden Willie Wallace didn’t want to put them in contact with Kanye or anyone anymore.
“This situation was definitely unfortunate, but we have to speak up about it to defend our brand because that could definitely [hinder] us in terms of him putting that out,” he said on social media after going public about how Kanye lifted their design. “We’ve had our brand out and because of his platform and his public visibility, it could dampen what we got going on because we are a small, upcoming brand.”
“Our side of the story is, we’re not mad at you, but from one Black artist to another Black artist, he could have said, ‘I see what you got going on, let’s help you gain some exposure, some visibility,'” Dawkins said. “That’s all we ask. We’re not the only victims in this rampage. We hope that people come out and really speak upon their side of this story as well because I feel like there needs to be protection for our small businesses.”
Kanye West, who just released “Donda” on Sunday, has had similar claims of logo theft in the past. Kanye has yet to comment on Infinity G8ds claims, or reach out to the group.