Is Kanye West's latest clothing line racist? West has found himself a new enemy in civil rights advocate Al Sharpton, who is calling for a boycott on Yeezus merchandise and clothing that has the Confederate flag plastered on it. Sharpton, the head of civil rights group National Action Network, has launched a campaign to have the controversial clothing removed from shops across the country.
Sharpton has accused West of both racism and ignorance by using the Confederate flag, declaring that it "symbolizes dehumanization, injustice and pain. It is a stark reminder of an era in our history that was defined by the abhorrent practice of slavery." He is now calling on West to remove the arguably racist clothing and have other stores discontinue their sales of it as well.
However, the rapper has refused to comply with Sharpton’s request, declaring that his use of the Confederate flag actually gives the power of the symbol back to the black community. "I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag," he said. "It's my flag now."
Najee Ali, the political director of the L.A. Branch of NAN, said that West using the Confederate flag on his merchandise is no less offensive than if he were to use a similar symbol associated with the pain of a different minority. "I challenge Kanye West to create a clothing line of merchandise featuring swastikas if he's sincere about his beliefs," he said. "But we all know Kanye doesn't have the courage to do that. The Jewish community would run him out of town if he did and so should the African-American community."
Controversial actions like this are likely why West's Q score rating, a proven web statistic that measures likability, has dropped. Since his relationship with reality star Kim Kardashian began in April 2011, the rapper's Q score has dropped by a staggering 66 percent. West had a Q score of 17 among women between ages 18-49 before dating Kardashian, but that score is now at three. Comparatively, other hip-hop artists have seen their popularity score fall between 12 to 18, while regular male celebrities should score between 14-19. Meanwhile, Kardashian’s Q score was a nine in 2011, but has since fallen to four.