Los Angeles based Kenyan designer apologizes for T-shirt design won by Jay-Z

Riyadha Mosque in Lamu which was printed on a T-shirt worn by American rapper Jay-Z recently. [Photo: Nation]

Zedekiah Lukoye, a Kenyan designer whose T-shirt emblazoned with an image of Lamu’s Riyadha Mosque was worn by celebrated American rapper Jay-Z has apologized.

Lukoye alias Zeddie Loky who is based in Los Angeles said that he was not aware that the image would hurt the beliefs of the Muslim community in Lamu.

Loky who is the owner of Blkkburd Genes in a letter to Riyadha Mosque noted that he never imagined that his works would end up injuring the reputation of the Muslim faith.

“In this respect, we are willing to make this right with you. We will make sure to remove all the inappropriate portrayal of Riyadha Mosque Lamu on our T-shirts,” the Kenyan-born designer said in a letter seen by Nation.

He noted that he has spread word around to his friends who have the same t-shirt as Jay Z to protect the image of Riyadha Mosque by staying away from nightclubs and bars whenever they have it on.

Loky added that he will not print this design anymore.

“Since we only produced 20 T-shirts for some of our celebrity friends and family, we would not be reprinting this design,” he remarked.

Abubakar Badawy, the Riyadha Mosque and Islamic Centre Secretary General said that they have seen remorse in Loky from their communication.

“We received the letter yesterday. The designer and the company have shown remorse and we don’t take that for granted. The apology has been accepted. We are looking forward to partnering with them to promote the good image of Lamu,” he said.

Riyadha Mosque in Lamu is a treasure having been built in 1892 getting into the annals of history as the oldest mosque in Lamu to date.

It has been gazetted as a national monument by the Kenyan government in the National Museums and Heritage Act.

For two centuries, it has been crucial in spreading Islam along the East and Central African coast.