Kanye AKA Yeezus is always making speaking his mind and doing things that keep people talking. Kanye does these things not to necessarily gain attention but to bring attention to the truth as he sees it and sometimes the way the word should see it. Kanye is a man that speaks his mind and in the United States that is quite okay. Kanye has just went on tour and of-course on tour all artist sell merch. Check out this article we recently read on Revolt.tv about his Merch written by @ralphieblackmon that we could have not written any better.
Not long after Kanye West kicked off his electrifying Yeezus Tour on Saturday night in Seattle, the G.O.O.D. Music mastermind once again found himself at the center of controversy.
As if having Jesus Christ join him on the Key Arena stage wasn’t enough to fire up backlash, ’Ye is stirring up quite the ruckus over some of his tour merch, which features images of the Confederate flag. The particular pieces include a t-shirt bearing the image of a skeleton draped in the polemical flag, while the other finds the iconic graphic plastered over a tote bag.
Though most of Yeezy’s tour merch revisits themes made popular by 80’s heavy metal bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica – whose iconic logo more than likely inspired the Yeezus Tour logo design – usage of the flag has stricken up a storm because of its ruinous role in American history.
“What’s his next venture? Selling KKK themed hoodies? @KanyeWest selling confederate flag themed t-shirts,” wrote one fan on Twitter (@TheShowstopper1), while another wrote “kanye’s tour merch has the confederate flag on it but it’s no big deal cause he is a ‘creative genius’ & all. (@vivifyx).”
For over a century, the Confederate flag has stood as a troubling symbol of racial transgression in the States, as well as a bleak reminder of the shackles that held generations of American slaves.
Perhaps Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post described use of the uncouth symbol best in a recent editorial, comparing it to the use of the swastika symbol. “For those of you who would [say]… that the Confederate flag is nothing more than a symbol of regional pride, save it,” wrote Capehart. “That flag you revere so much is no better than a Swastika, a threatening symbol of hate that has no place in American political discourse.”
So the question is – why did Kanye decide to use this symbol? And better yet – what exactly was he trying to promote?
Though he has yet to comment on the gear, as one of music’s oft-embattled stars, it should be no surprise that Ye is using this opportunity to make a definitive statement. Instead of having the flag continue to cast a black cloud over the heads of minorities in the country, perhaps he’s setting out to redefine the image through contradiction.
Just as he did with “BLKK SKNNN HEAD” and “New Slaves,”—and practically the entireYeezus LP—Kanye is grabbing adversity by the horns with the intent of diluting the power of racism. Bold, brash, and politically-driven is what the lyrics throughout that album showcases, as the rapper-producer tackles everything from the greed of consumerism, the breadth of classism, and of course, the racial divide in the political spectrum.
He touched on pushing these sort of boundaries in his recent interview with Zane Lowe, where he discusses the criticism behind his decision to create a song called “I Am A God” and how it falls under what he describes as, “self-hate.”
“When someone comes up and says something like, ‘I am a god,’ everybody says ‘Who does he think he is?’ I just told you who I thought I was! A god! I just told you. That’s who I think I am,” West asserted. “Would it have been better if I had a song that said ‘I am a gangster’ or if I had a song that said ‘I am a pimp’? All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a god, especially when you got shipped over to the country that you’re in, and your last name is a slave owner’s? How could you say that? How could you have that mentality?”
Using the Confederate flag imagery is in line for what West described in that recent interview, but while avoiding hailing himself as a deity, in this case he may just be promoting overcoming negativity.
Meanwhile, Reverend Al Sharpton made an interesting and contrasting point in a recent editorial for Huffington Post, in which he downplayed any use of the Confederate flag stating that it symbolizes dehumanization, injustice and pain. “While I agree that as a public figure you can never fully control what people say or do at a gathering, when an individual or group turns ugly, it is your duty to speak up,” wrote Sharpton. “Because if you do not, you are quietly cosigning whatever despicable act they have committed.”
Still, Yeezy is the son of a Black Panther and his mother was arrested for the sit-ins, and as many times as he’s spoken on our country’s flaws and racially-divided state, it’s safe to say that what Mr. West is following Sharpton’s wishes by speaking up.