When Kanye West cryptically dropped the name of his forthcoming album, So Help Me God, on Twitter last week, it was accompanied by equally mystifying artwork. At the time we noted the diamond embellished with lowercase m’s at the corners originated as a 13th century monastic symbol for the Virgin Mary. Some people began commenting on the artwork’s similarity to that of the Portland-based metal band Christian Mistress, who have been using the symbol for seven years. The image Kanye tweeted (depicted above) is possibly just the single artwork for “All Day,” not the So Help Me God album cover. Nevertheless, Christian Mistress are pretty ticked off that the biggest icon in pop culture right now decided to use the same iconography as them. In an interview with Nick Lucchesi of the Village Voice, Christian Mistress’ singer Christine Davis discussed the reason why the band chose this particular symbol, which was originally discovered by drummer Reuben Storey:
“I don’t know what book, but he found it and thought, ‘Wow, this is really beautiful, and it represents the Virgin Mary, and our band name is Christian Mistress.’ So we thought it would be cool to use this and never tell anyone that it represents the Virgin Mary — keep it a secret and that way this can be ours. In that way we made it ours in our hearts. Like, you have this ridiculous band name everyone always asks us about, and we never once mention in any interview that that symbol represented the Virgin Mary because we like having that be more of a secret.”
Davis cited concerns that potential fans might be deterred from taking any interest in Christian Mistress, thinking that they copied Kanye’s logo:
Because time will go on and people will forget about the whole reverse-confusion type of situation. We’ll end up losing control of our reputation as original artists. And that’s just something that’s too valuable to just passively say, ‘That’s OK,’ because it’s really not OK and he’s using the symbol in a manner that will confuse people in the future and now… [West is] using it on iTunes, he’s using it on places where we also sell our music, and if it’s intentional and willful that’s hurtful to us and we’re just really confused and disappointed, basically.
Ultimately, Christian Mistress hope that Kanye will change his album artwork if it is, in fact, slated to be the same symbol as theirs. Read the entire interview over at the Village Voice.
So Help Me God pic.twitter.com/e3UUsQQEts
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 1, 2015