We weren’t here for Kanye West selling Confederate flag T-shirts and we’re certainly not here for his explanation:
“React how you want. Any energy you got is good energy. You know the confederate flag represented slavery in a way — that’s my abstract take on what I know about it. So I made the song ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now. Now what are you going to do? Ain’t nothing going to happen.”
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His reasoning behind using the controversial image is along the same lines as common argument of Black people using the “N-word,” claiming that they have taken the power back from the word by using it themselves. “I just think people look cool in it. They look nice. And it’s colorless also,” Kanye told Los Angeles 97.1 AMP. The T-shirts have gone beyond Kanye’s Yeezus Tour and now live in his L.A. pop-up shop as well. So now the masses can enjoy the racist T-shirts without having to spend money on going to the Yeezus tour to see Jesus.
Kanye said his basic understanding of the Confederate flag is that it reps slavery. So why would you want that image to be used as something that correlates directly to you? As a creative mind, why not create a new image that still represents “New Slaves” without being offensive. “I’ve influenced a of trends from inside and this is where I’m stepping up and saying, ‘I want my shot to really create everything and make life easier for people.’”
Kanye then went on to call the shirt colorless, claiming that it was not only “super hood,” but “White boy approved” too. In one sentence Kanye claimed the flag represented slavery, then claimed that it’s colorless; it’s obvious that he’s lost.
Reverend Al Sharpton wrote in the Huffington Post, “The Confederate flag symbolizes dehumanization, injustice and pain. It is a stark reminder of an era in our history that was defined by the abhorrent practice of slavery. And it is representative of a mentality that looked upon Blacks as inferiors who needed to remain in the shackles of subservience. If you don’t believe me, ask family members of those that were beaten, castrated and lynched under the guise of that Confederate flag.”
And there you have it–a succinct history lesson in why using a painful image like the Confederate flag is just misguided. Kanye’s entire 18 minute interview turned into one of his usual stream-of-conscious rants that took him from Backstreet Boys to being the only 36-year-old “ME!” to wanting Miley to twerk again. Please do yourself a favor and watch this diatribe.
We’ll leave you with this epic quote from the interview, “Everytime I talk, there’s a break in the matrix.”