Rev Al Sharpton is leading a national boycott against hip-hop superstar Kanye West after he featured the confederate flag symbol on his clothing line.

The US civil rights activist expressed his outage when West declared he had reclaimed the Confederate flag - a symbol which has deep ties to African-American oppression and slavery - from racists, and emblazoned it on his tour merchandise.

The Stronger hitmaker defended the controversial move by insisting: "I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It's my flag now."

Many African leaders have since condemned the use of the Southern Cross, including the National Action Network (NAN), which is one of the leading civil rights organisations in the US.

"The Confederate flag symbolises dehumanisation, injustice and pain. It is a stark reminder of an era in our history that was defined by the abhorrent practice of slavery," Sharpton said.

"And it is representative of a mentality that looked upon blacks as inferiors who needed to remain in the shackles of subservience."

The NAN is now making a stand against West's clothing line and is determined to shut it down and any store that decides to sell the merchandise.

NAN President Rev K.W. Tulloss said: "Kanye West selling jackets with the Confederate flag on them is a disgrace and embarrassment. many of our ancestors were brutalised, kidnapped, raped, and murdered during slavery under this flag.

"It's inexcusable for West to be promoting and merchandising this flag. We're determined to boycott and shut down any other stores that attempt to sell this merchandise."

Najee Ali, the political director of the Los Angeles NAN, added: "I challenge Kanye West to create a clothing line of merchandise featuring swastikas if he's sincere about his beliefs. But we all know Kanye doesn't have the courage to do that. The Jewish community would run him out of town if he did and so should the African American community."

Kanye West and the Confederate Flag
Kanye West sporting the Confederate Flag