"The level of disrespect is appalling."


Kanye West has once again demonstrated his unparalleled talent for poking the bee hive of cultural anxieties: This time, by simultaneously expressing support for President Donald Trump and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.


The rapper/designer/producer paired a Make America Great Again hat with a sweatshirt bearing Kaepernick's name while promoting his new album at the New York offices of "Fader" magazine Thursday. 

The ensemble struck many observers as inherently contradictory, given that Trump has forcefully denounced NFL players who, inspired by Kaepernick, kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans.


“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!'" the president ​said last year during a rally in Alabama.

The outfit is merely the latest political statement by Kanye, who caused an uproar this year by publicly ​professing his admiration for Trump and the "dragon energy" the two allegedly share.


At the same time, the contradiction shouldn't be too surprising for an artist who has consistently resisted being boxed into a conventional media profile. Aside from supporting Trump and conservative commentator ​Candace Owens, Kanye has also voiced respect for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and gun control activist ​Emma Gonzalez and Democratic-Socialist Vermont Sen. ​Bernie Sanders.


Still, many liberals took offense to Kanye's sartorial choices.

​​For many, the rapper's latest transgression solidified their commitment to boycotting his music.

While some commenters saw Kanye's outfit choice as a publicity stunt, arguing that the rapper seems to conveniently engage in controversial behavior just before he releases new projects.


Kanye, for his part , refused to shy away from the controversy, called his hat the "elephant in the room," and complimented himself on his design skills.


“But it’s my hat, I redesigned it,” he reportedly told those present at the Fader offices. “I changed the brim, I mean I changed the shape right here and I put positive energy into the hat.”


According to Fader's ​report of the visit, Kanye also called conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Trump "matrix breakers" and ​once again suggested slavery was a choice, claiming he would have "run, fought, or got killed" if he had been a slave.


Say what you will about West, he certainly marches to the beat of his own drum.


Germania is a staff writer at Pluralist.