Colin Kaepernick is GQ’s “Citizen of the Year.”
Over a year after the former San Fransisco 49er began kneeling at NFL games during the national anthem, the magazine is celebrating his activism in its annual Men of the Year issue. On GQ’s December cover, Kaepernick wears all black with a gold chain and an unapologetic Afro to accentuate his revolutionary look.
Kaepernick collaborated with the magazine for a photo shoot in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood ― where, GQ notes, Muhammad Ali once marched with the Nation of Islam in protest of the Vietnam War.
“That’s why we decided to photograph Colin in public, in Harlem, among the men, women, and children he is fighting for,” the magazine’s editors write. “To connect him to a crusade that stretches back decades.”
Kaepernick, who is not currently signed to an NFL team, told GQ he wanted to participate in the story to “reclaim the narrative of his protest.” Kaepernick began his protest as a way to call attention to systemic racial injustice and police brutality against black people, but in recent months, the kneeling gesture been co-opted as a general statement of protest against President Donald Trump.
GQ’s editors spoke with 10 activists, writers and influencers, including Ava DuVernay, J. Cole, Harry Belafonte and Linda Sarsour, about Kaepernick’s character, work and impact.
“Colin is a remarkable young man,” Belafonte said. “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.”
Read the full story at GQ.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.