Kayne West is upping the stakes in his business deal with Gap Inc. He is demanding a seat on the company’s board of directors. If he doesn’t get one, he has threatened to withhold product releases, Bloomberg reported.
He also wants the same from Adidas.
“I’M WEARING JORDANS TILL I’M ON THE BOARD OF ADIDAS,” West tweeted.
He added, “I’M NOT RELEASING NOTHING ON GAP TILL I’M ON THE BOARD.”
In a tweet earlier this month, West wrote, “I DONT HAVE A BOARD SEAT AT GAP I DONT HAVE A BOARD SEAT AT ADIDAS … BLACK BOARD SEATS MATTER.”
While some might brush aside West’s tweets as another rant, others say that the hip-hop mogul is actually onto something. Despite the enormous spending power Black consumers wield, there are very few Black corporate board members.
“You have your own brand. Don’t partner with them anymore. Black lives won’t matter until we use our money in a way that matters” Lisa Elwell
Newly-appointed directors are increasingly diverse, Harvard Business Review reported. However, 37 percent of S&P 500 firms did not have any Black board members in 2019 and Black directors comprised just 4.1 percent of Russell 3000 board members.
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West’s announcement might cause the Gap some problems. The company just signed a huge 10-year deal with him, Uproxx reported. It will involve the creation of a new Yeezy Gap line.
West will maintain sole ownership of the Yeezy brand, while Gap Inc. maintains sole ownership of Gap, according to a press release on the deal. Yeezy will also get royalties and potential equity in connection with sales achievements, according to a press release from June, Complex reported.
For those who think a boycott by West would won’t hurt the clothing company, think again.
“Back in July Gap shares dipped after West threatened to ‘walk away’ from the company during his widely panned campaign event in South Carolina,” Complex reported.
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West has a solid and successful relationship with Adidas, signing with Europe’s largest sportswear manufacturer in 2013. When the company had a change of management in 2016, he closed “an unheard-of deal: a 15 percent royalty on wholesale. What’s more, he retained 100 percent ownership of the Yeezy brand,” WARC reported.
In 2019, West’s Yeezy shoe brand was on track to top $1.5 billion in annual sales.