Why Is Kanye West Selling Confederate Flag Merch on His Yeezus Tour?

Kanye West in Margiela mask copyPhoto: Tumblr

While many were expecting the unexpected on the first stop of the Kanye West Yeezus tour, it’s highly unlikely anyone quite expected what they got. In addition to performing in a Maison Martin Margiela look featuring a head mask and bringing out a Jesus lookalike–all taking place on his massive set that included among other things flashing lights, flurries of snow, a dozen dancers, and a mountain–the newly-engaged rapper sold tour merchandise that featured the Confederate flag.

Photos of the merchandise, which turned up on Virgil Abloh’s Twitter account, depict the controversial flag used as a hooded robe for a skeleton carrying a sickle, and also drapped as a backdrop for another skull. Abloh, who has been called West’s style adviser, captioned the photos with lines like “Our mama’s were raised in an era when… The touring merchandise collection of thoughts.”

Having been born in the southern state of Georgia, West likely knew of the negative connotation of the flag prior to collaborating with Jersey-born Wes Lang to create the artwork. For many, the flag, which was officially the flag of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, symbolize a violent, rac1st, and outmoded past of the South. For others, the flag only represents the South’s history. It was for this supposed reason that the flag was kept flying over the South Carolina State House long after it should have come down.

It’s been speculated that West’s usage seeks to re-appropriate the symbol but the artist has yet to make an official statement on meaning. The usage does stay in line with the theme of race evidenced in both Ye’s album and incorporation of “White Jesus” into his stage set.

Click through to see the tour merchandise.

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Comments

Comments

  1. says:

    I like the message that the shirt with the grim reaper/dead bones is wearing. It’s like saying that old habits die hard or even in death the MEANING that the confederate flag has won’t die. It’s interesting.

    The last one is just narcissistic. Saying that God wants him? Well God want all of us to come to him (have a relationship with him).

  2. says:

    This fool would do anything for attention.

  3. says:

    I’m pleased to announce that I’m 100% white Puerto Rican without a drop of negro blood in me and I don’t feel deprived at all.

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