It was a kinder, gentler Kanye West who rolled into 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles (a Radio.com station) last week (Oct. 28) for an interview in which he held court on a litany of subjects, including his much-discussed new line of Yeezus tour merchandise, with many items featuring the always incendiary Confederate flag.
“React how you want. Any energy you got is good energy,” West said. “I represented slavery, my abstract take on what I know about it, I wrote ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. What are you going to do?”
The rapper’s response made it all the way to writers on Saturday Night Live, with new “Weekend Update” anchor Cecily Strong referencing the AMP interview for a Kanye West-directed joke.
“Kanye West this week defended his use of the Confederate flag in his new line of merchandise, saying that he’s now made it his flag,” Strong said in the set-up before delivering the punchline, “said Kanye, ‘whenever I see something that upsets people, I make it mine,'” accompanied by a picture of West with his new fiancee, Kim Kardashian (go to the :54 mark of the video to watch).
While West has been forced to postpone a handful of Yeezus tour dates after his stage set sustained major damage in a truck accident, the merchandise is still being sold at a special pop-up shop along a tony section of Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood. While the shop was originally scheduled to only be open for a few days, the run has been extended to accommodate demand for the controversial pieces, including a new bomber jacket that will be exclusive to the store.