Kanye West‘s latest expression of creative genius is leaving a bad taste in several mouths. At his Melrose Ave. ‘Yeezus’ pop-up store, the rapper is displaying and selling merchandise emblazoned with the Confederate flag.
There are tote bags, t-shirts, and all manner of fare bearing the ‘ol Stars and Bars, a symbol representing the murder, rape, persecution, and exploitation of West’s ancestors and many others. The merch comes with slogans like “Yeezus wants you,” “The Winning Team” and “I Ain’t Coming Down“–the latter a response, no doubt, to the popular Confederate phrase, “The South Will Rise Again.”
It seems his aim is to co-opt this painful symbol as his own, and re-interpret it for the modern day, similar to how many rappers flagrantly use the historically derisive N-Word in songs.
West has already commented on his co-opting of the flag: “React how you want. Any energy you got is good energy,” he said in an interview with Los Angeles’s 97.1 AMP radio station. “I represented slavery, my abstract take on what I know about it, I wrote New Slaves. So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. What are you going to do?” He continued, “I just think people look cool in it. They look nice. And it’s colorless also,” Kanye continued. “It’s super hood and super white boy approved at the same time. That’s really what my style has always been.”
Kanye’s always tried to push boundaries in music, art, and fashion, but this particular pill seems a little difficult to swallow.
What do you think? Is West turning the Confederate Flag on its head? Or is this a stunt to garner more attention for his ‘Yeezus’ tour?