Rapper Kanye West has defended his decision to use the Confederate flag in merchandise for his Yeezus tour, insisting he is reclaiming the image from racists.

Fans were outraged to see the star's T-shirts and jackets emblazoned with the flag that was adopted by the slave-owning southern U.S. states during the American Civil War.

Critics took to Twitter.com to voice their concerns after West was spotted wearing a coat bearing the flag at the weekend (02-03Nov13), with one fan writing, "Ye (Kanye) - Thats (sic) Stupid! Brother I marched to have that vile rag torn down from the state house grounds."

However, the Stronger hitmaker insists the gesture is his way of reclaiming the image, telling Los Angeles radio show Amp, "The Confederate flag represented slavery in a way. That's my abstract take on what I know about it, right? So I wrote the song New Slaves. So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It's my flag now. Now what you gonna (going to) do... It's colourless also. It's super-'hood and super-white-boy-approved at the same time."