Self-Declared Jewish Atheist Behind Controversial ‘I Met God, She’s Black’ T-Shirt
A self-described Jewish atheist named Dylan Chenfeld is behind the “I Met God, She’s Black” T-shirts that have recently been sported on major celebrities, The Huffington Post reported on Saturday.
The 21-year-old New Yorker said he didn’t create the phrase, but was the first to sell T-shirts bearing the slogan and has been publicizing it in recent days with posters he allegedly plastered all over Manhattan. Chenfeld, who was raised in the City’s Upper West Side, said when he initially started printing the shirts about a year ago many of his buyers were white.
Celebrities who have been photographed wearing his shirt include Jewish rapper Drake and model Cara Delevingne.
“I like poking fun at sacred cows,” Chenfield told The Huffington Post. “I’m taking the idea that God is a white male and doing the opposite of that, which is a black woman.”
Chenfeld’s grandparents are Orthodox Jews, but he chose to step away from all organized religion after his bar mitzvah. Chenfeld told The Huffington Post that among his family, he was always the one asking questions about what God is like. He said he hopes his shirts will help people question the image of God as a white male.
“Sometimes when you get really religious, it becomes sexist and that’s when I tap out,” he said. “And that’s why I’ve never been a super religious person.”
After recent protests in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement erupted across the US following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Chenfield said there has been more interest in his shirts. However, he admits that it has not necessarily translated into increased sales.
Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis, a Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church who has been involved in the protests following Garner’s death, spoke to The Huffington Post in support of Chenfeld’s shirts. He said the apparel addresses the desire for people to see God in their own image, even if there is a Jewish atheist behind the business.
“It’s important for people to keep the contemporary conversation going about who God is, what God wants and how we relate to God,” Lewis said. “The good outcome is if some black child somewhere bumps into it and goes, ‘Well maybe… maybe God’s not an old white guy and if so, what does that say about me?'”