tyler, the creator's new t-shirts rework white power logos

The 24-year-old rapper says he’s making a strong, subversive statement against hate.

by Emily Manning
08 May 2015, 5:05pm

Image via Golf Wang Tumblr

Since Odd Future Wolf Gang first exploded onto the mainstream music scene five years ago, the collective's unique sound and aggressive lyrics have been labeled everything under the sun. Top of the accusation list: homophobia, which lyrics like "I'll crash that fucking airplane that that f*ggot n*gga B.o.B is in,"—a snippet from Tyler, the Creator's breakout smash Yonkers—didn't help. But today, the Cherry Bomb rapper has taken a big step to combat this reputation. Tyler has just dropped a new tee that reappropriates a neo-Nazi symbol and remixes it with rainbows to represent the group's support for gay pride.

As NME reported this morning, Tyler's tee hijacks the White Pride World Wide logo, a symbol proliferated by self-professed white nationalist community Stormfront, and rebrands the hate symbol with a technicolor twist. "[I] asked myself some questions," the rapper wrote in a Tumblr post explaining the meaning behind his latest crop of merch. "What if a black guy wore this logo on a shirt? Would he be promoting self hate? Would he be taking the power out of a shape? What if a gay guy wore this on a shirt? Would he be promoting Homophobia? Then BAM! I Had it. Throw a little rainbow in the logo."

The press shot promoting the tee also sees Tyler holding hands with a white man, a move he explained is a nice little "fuck you" to the original logo's supremacist supporters: "The thing that tops it off is the homo erotic tone of the hand holding, which to some degree HAS to piss off the guys who takes this logo serious," he continued in the Tumblr post. "This made the photo even more important to me, because it was me playing with the idea of taking the power out of something so stupid."

Tyler also took a minute to address his reputation, arguing "I WAS NEVER REFERRING TO SOMEONES SEXUAL PREFERENCE WHEN USING THAT WORD. I mean, i'm legit one of the least homophobic guys to walk this earth but, most people just read the surface." Whether GLAAD and the other LGBT rights groups that slammed his lyrics in the past feel the same way is yet to be determined.


Text Emily Manning
Image via Golf Wang Tumblr

tyler the creator
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