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Colin Kaepernick Is GQ Magazine’s Citizen Of The Year, J. Cole, Ava DuVernay & More Pen Tributes

Colin Kaepernick - GQ Citizen of the Year
Photo: Martin Schoeller

Harry Belafonte

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.

And this is not just confined to black athletes—any person with a high profile has to consider their responsibility to help keep the nation honorable and honest. After all the courageous things that have been done by so many courageous people, it’s a cop-out to not speak up. Trump has betrayed our nation. Taking a shot at him is worthy of all of us. Not being “political” is not a solution. Any young person who takes that position would have to ask Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson and so many of us if we had anything at stake. I know how someone who is young can get the feeling that this is the worst things have been. I see how someone could think that. But it’s going to be okay. Even in the Trump era, America is going to be okay.

Nessa

Colin has always been helping people, he has always been involved, because he has empathy. Empathy was a reason why he was adopted: His parents—two of their children had passed away from heart defects. It’s why he helped so many young children with heart defects get proper care—he’s been doing that for years. I’m very fortunate that I have Colin next to me. It’s everything. We love each other, we care for each other, and we have to remind each other that, hey, we’re doing our part, we’re trying to make a difference.

As long as you’re educated and you have the facts, get into those discussions about race. Have those conversations. I don’t care how intense they get. You need to let Uncle Whoever and Auntie Whoever, who might feel a certain way, who might be racist or prejudiced, know that it’s not right and it’s not okay. Their beliefs are never based on facts. It’s always opinions or lies or misinformation, and that is where you can make a difference—by helping them get educated. Just know that it’s probably going to be a fight at first, and be okay with that. You know, your Thanksgiving might not be that good this year. Your Christmas might not be the best because we just had an argument. But you know what? It’s okay, it’s all right—that’s what families do, anyway. And why would you want a family member out there sounding ignorant? So it’s fine, we’re going to fight over the eggnog, and that’s just what it is. We may not see eye to eye, but I did my part, sharing the truth, because that’s all you can do. Be just in an unjust room.

 

Congratulations to Colin on an honor well-deserved.

Read more at GQ.

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