Iconic men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine GQ has just made a very socially conscious choice for one of their Men of the Year. 2017’s first man of the year is none other than Football Player and activist Colin Kaepernick.
GQ is one of Condé Nast‘s most popular publications. The magazine is the tastemaker for many of the trends and styles among men young and old alike. When they choose a man of the year, they choose wisely picking men who not only have their own sense of style but their own sense of purpose and confidence.
GQ often chooses men who are athletes and actors and even models who stand out from the crowd for obvious reasons. This year, the magazine chose one of the most controversial men in sports as the first Man of the Year, Colin Kaepernick. If you haven’t heard of the former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, you must have been living in an alternate universe.
Kaepernick, (shown below on his GQ cover), chose to kneel during the national anthem in protest of the injustices perpetrated against African Americans. His protest has caused an uproar across the country and the world causing other athletes to follow his lead and take a stand against oppressive behavior against minorities.
The theme of this year’s awards is called “New American Heroes”, and if you have been paying attention Kaepernick has been putting his actions and money where his mouth is. When he’s not protesting injustices on the field and creating a movement across sports, he is donating to charities, raising money for various causes, and educating young people with his “Know Your Rights” camp (seen below).
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It’s hard to believe that’s it’s been a year since the first Know Your Rights Camp. Our hope was simple, we wanted to help the people. We wanted to provide the young folks with resources to help them navigate their daily experiences as Black and Brown people in America. We also wanted to help local organizations and community leaders amplify their messages. We wanted the focus of the camp to be on human rights, because often times it is our rights as human beings are what’s being violated on a daily basis. We wanted the youth to know: 1. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE FREE. 2. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEALTHY. 3. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE BRILLIANT. 4. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE. 5. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE LOVED. 6. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE COURAGEOUS. 7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ALIVE. 8. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TRUSTED. 9. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE EDUCATED. 10. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. We all know that the work is not done and that the struggle continues. This day will always be special to me and I want to thank everyone that helped make it possible. @yourrightscamp @ravisionmedia
By making Kaepernick one of their choices, GQ seems to be aligning itself with the majority of the country which is yearning for change and an end to the cycle of bigotry that seems to be looming over us all.
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Colin Kaepernick will not be silenced. He's been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL—all because he took a knee to protest police brutality. But Kaepernick's determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference. (📸@martinschoeller) #GQMOTY #colinkaepernick
Kaepernick was humble when sharing his thanks on Instagram about his Man of the Year cover thanking another deeply involved black activist and extremely talented entertainer Harry Belafonte who endured his fair share of criticism during his career as he protested during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
No matter how you may feel about Mr. Kaepernick’s protest, the fact of the matter is he is doing all of this to support and help other people in need. Being a person in a position such as his, comes with much responsibility and purpose. He is using his platform to address serious topics in our country and starting a dialogue that has been long overdue. We Salute you Mr. Kaepernick, your new GQ title is well deserved.