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November 14, 2013
Kanye Rebrands the Confederate Flag?
 
Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, you read that headline correctly.

We know that Kanye West gets a lot of attention because of his outlandish statements and his personal life, but this story — which is totally true, by the way — was too good and too interesting to just brush off.

How many South Carolinians and Mississippians lost their minds when they heard or saw Yeezy reppin' the flag of the Confederacy, saying that he "reappropriated it."

Excuse our giddiness; we just think this is hilarious.

But yes, Kanye West is on tour and is showcasing songs from his "Yeezus" album, the sixth album he has put out for those who love him and those who love to hate him to enjoy. On the album, the song getting the most attention and the genesis of his new fondness of the Confederate flag is called "New Slaves." Themes of plights of slaves, lynching, and the struggle for freedom permeates throughout the album. 

We do appreciate Mr. West's kind of thinking. If you don't want to be a slave, what is the ultimate thing to do? Own what used to own you. Rock the symbol of oppression and give it a new meaning.

People, like those talking heads on NPR and the like, will call this a publicity stunt in order to bring more attention to his tour.

To be honest, we're sure that is part of the equation.

But we should give credit to Mr. West where credit is due. Trying to rebrand the Confederate flag as a symbol African-Americans will freely wear is not a journey for the weak and timid. There are people who will be more than angry to see a black man flaunting the confederate flag like it's a logo or decal from SoHo.

Let them be angry.

This tactic has so many interweaving parts. First, how does one rebrand something that once threatened the livelihood of Black America, and the Union? Second, how does a black man do it? Third, will mainstream media even pick this up to objectively talk about, or will they immediately jump to Kanye's media-mongering to avoid the ever growing gorilla in the room...race?

Let hate, Yeezy. We want to see what you can do.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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