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What J. Cole, Ava DuVernay And Harry Belafonte Are Saying About Colin Kaepernick

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Colin Kaepernick’s face has been making it’s way around social media after being named Man of the Year by GQ magazine.

The athlete, who last season was blackballed from the NFL after taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality, graces the cover of the fashion mag’s latest issue sporting his aftro and a black turtleneck.  “Citizen of the Year,” the cover reads. “The New American Heroes.”

Inside the publication, a handful of powerful men and women share their thoughts on Colin’s act of heroism during a time of racial tensions across the nation.

Director Ava DuVernay said, “Civil rights activists are artists. Athletes are artists. People who imagine something that is not there. I think some folks see his protests, his resistance, as not his work. Not intentional. Not strategic. Not as progressive action. As if this was just a moment that he got caught up in. This was work. This is work that he’s doing.”

J Cole described Kaepernick as a “guy in his athletic prime, who’s lived his whole life dreaming about playing football at a level that millions of kids dream to get to. And in his first big season, he takes his team to within five yards of winning a Super Bowl. But then, at some point in time, he becomes conscious about what’s happening in the world. And suddenly something that he’s been doing blindly for his whole life—standing for the national anthem—now feels uncomfortable.”

The rapper continued, “Why? Because now it feels phony! It feels like, Man, how can I stand for this thing when this country is not holding itself true to the principles it says it stands for? I feel like we’re lying. And look what happens to him. Had he not done that, this guy would be making millions of dollars right now. Period, point blank. And more important than the money, he was living his dream. He sacrificed his dream.”

Actor Harry Belafonte wrote, “In my 90th year of life, to see people like Colin Kaepernick having gotten the message and carrying the cause forward is the greatest reward I could ask for. Colin is a remarkable young man. The fact that he spoke out on police brutality against young black men—I thought it was absolutely admirable. I’m prepared to do anything it takes and whatever steps I can to support him if this insanity continues.”

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