Not only does the internet lack chill, it also has no concept of history. Whatever is posted today, will be screen shot and trotted out at some relevant future moment to your demise. Ask Hillary about her 2000 stance on same-sexmarriage. Ask Kanye about when he unsuccessfully attempted to co-opt the Confederate flag and market it in a fashion line. The internet stores the images while Black Twitter constructs them into memes hoarded in a warehouse deeper that Prince’s dad’s vault of unproduced music in Purple Rain. There it sits, waiting with the well-delivered timing of a professional comic. Still, as much of a contentious view that I have about Kanye (dude don’t read books), his failed foray into the confederacy is not the same as those coontastic negroes draping themselves in the ejaculate of slavery.
The Coon-federacy believes that the flag does not represent slavery, rather it is a reflection of southern pride and heritage. You can see that here, here, and here. They give no credence to the words of the flag’s creator William Thompson, “As a people, we are fighting to maintain the heaven ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race.” This wasn’t just his separate viewpoint. This was the rationale for the design of the flag. Thompson wrote that “the new flag would be hailed by the civilized world as the white man’s flag.” It is disconcerting to see skin folk proudly waving the signage of skinheads. It makes me wonder if we’re not experiencing a Fringe-like interaction of parallel universes: black confederate supporters opening the cosmic gates to white women wanting to live as black women… Oh, damn.
Kanye West may have delusions of grandeur, but he is clear on what the Confederate flag means. He states, “everyone knows the flag represents slavery…”
But what do we know of West? He considers himself somewhat of a contemporary hip hop messiah, even taking on the moniker Yeezus. After being snubbed by the VP of Louis Vuitton, Ye ordered his fan base to boycott the brand, exclaiming “They think that I don’t realize my power.” Just as he demanded a wheelchair bound fan to stand at his concert. Kanye West wants to lead. He wants the differently-abled to rise. He wants a movement. Unfortunately, the Yeezus movement isn’t about liberation; it’s solely about Kanye. Kanye West isn’t a coon-federate. He’s plain and simply a narcissist.
Kanye is Narcissus, falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. All he sees and admires is himself. The battles he chooses are not about uplifting the socio-political status of his largely racially marginalized fans. He fights only against his personal slights and they are many. Kanye West is also Merrill, Joaquin Pheonix’s character in the movie Signs. If you recall, Merrill was a failed baseball player. He had a powerful swing that could knock the ball out of the park. Unfortunately, he swung at everything. The swings outnumbered the hits. Kanye doesn’t know when to not swing.
“You know the Confederate flag represented slavery…So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag now!” West stated in an AMP radio interview. This is what it is about for Kanye, trying to be bigger than the things that are greater than himself. The history and legacy of slavery is bigger than Kanye. So when he slaps the Confederate flag on a sleeve or wraps himself in its rebel madness, it isn’t an act of reclamation. It’s just one more black person’s naiveté being immortalized for internet fodder.
If Kanye read a book…several books, he’d learn that is not the way to overcome/power. He must be part of the dismantling of the system. And no matter who he is, he is not enough as an individual to do so. MLK wasn’t. X wasn’t. Garvey wasn’t. And I list black men, cause that’s all Kanye would even see.
Still, one black woman (Bree Newsome) did with the confederate flag in one act, what Kanye couldn’t achieve with professional marketing and money. She took it and sparked a movement. And now it is hers in a way that Kanye can only imagine but never achieve.