Tyler, the Creator Reappropriates Neo-Nazi Imagery to Support Gay Rights
Those of you who were alive and conscious on the Internet in 2007 probably remember the endless controversy surrounding hip-hop collective Odd Future. From lyrics that reference violence against women (or as some critics say, actively promote violence against women) to the use of Nazi imagery in their live shows, the group was known, collectively, for their shock value. The group's leader and co-founder, Tyler, the Creator -- who has been embroiled in controversy since the dawn of Twitter -- returned to form today when he tried to re-appropriate a symbol used in conjunction with neo-Nazi imagery in an attempt to promote gay rights. And also to sell some merch. Confused yet?
The symbol in question is a logo used by the white nationalist organization (aka a neo-Nazi group) known as Stormfront. The logo sees their slogan, "White Pride World Wide" surrounding a Celtic cross. Tyler reworked the logo by superimposing the Gay Pride rainbow over the cross and changing the text to "Golf Pride World Wide," referencing his own slogan, Golf Wang, and then slapping it all on a t-shirt.
He explained his decision in a lengthy Tumblr post, writing, "Now having the thought process that i have, i asked myself some questions: 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 promoting Homophobia? Then BAM! I Had it. Throw a little rainbow in the logo...and take a photo with a white guy in it and we have an amazing photo."
He goes on to explain the poses in the photo: "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. 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. Or maybe my whole idea on this is stupid. Who knows, but why not try it out?"
Tyler's decision to publicly support gay rights follows years of being criticized for homophobic lyrics and maintaining an often flippant attitude toward those who objected against his use of gay slurs. He acknowledges this in his blog post, writing, "...ever since my career started, ive been labeled as a homophobe, simply because of my use of the word faggot. Again, trying to take the power out of something, 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. But maybe someone will see this photo and say “ hey, he’s just mocking gays” or “ this has a negative undertone to it, he is still pushing this homophobic whatever the fuck it is”.
You can check out the T-shirt and read Tyler's full blog post over on his Tumblr.