There are now companies going after maga dollars by these social swing first, apologize after mis-steps.
They are positioned as trying to shout out how much black people and culture are “loved” by the brand by those Helming it who are both addicted to that packaged culture as they tell themselves they are loftily perched above it. & they are actually designed to be troubling and triggering to the cultures being sadistically glamorized.
It’s rough fetishism- a tried and true marketing strategy with deep, sick roots and the people who resort to it are boring as fuck.
They’re often the ones I wrote about earlier this week, disciples of “black music” of whatever era they first got laid in. It’s this punk-assed trying to be temporarily positioned as a fashionable bad boy energetic suck that gets relied on as star brands start to die. Think literal fashion brand death throes.
It has to be a multi-level attempt.
1.Position yourself as a trusted arbiter of all things edge, dark & cool(aka Black-IN this context) to trend addicts and mass media outlets;
2. Get your brand championed by black artists(thanks to pushes from in cahoots management & labels)…so they sell the shit literally off their backs for you…solely in exchange for some cool gear with $$$price points;
3. Once you’ve squeezed all the money you can from that association, drop a sambo image emblazoned across your collection in broad daylight to thank them for selling out their own kind for shit you make in China, shocking all those too multiculturally young to the fashion game to remember your brand does this every seven years when it’s losing traction, making the race convo and various less than-isms reload in the public whathaveyous;
4. Get Klan-esque money rolling in to float you gently into vestiges of bankruptcy as pay off for trying to traumatize the uppity niggahs who flashed being able to afford your brand as proof they were moving on up, young aspiration- oriented coca cola commercial kids that the Klan kids were being outpaced by educationally, fiscally & otherwise;
5. Release that public apology After you’ve made that rent money lol;
6. Glom on to some other black artist to “reaffirm” your diversity, one who pays no mind to the slap In the face you tried to deliver to the ancestors because green is greater than red or black to them;
Um…Say that again?
Racist people in design rooms who’ve been like leeches on black &indigenous cultures for decades, siphoning off it, whitewashing it & reselling it to people who look like them…like to show their Klan cards with a seasonal sambo/primative ref now and then. The bad press lines their pockets with dirty money & blips them on radars that normally ignore them.
The frequency has been greater since the latest president took office. H&M does it Two to three times a year these days.
But a few other variables have changed too, beyond frequency.
A. As a lot of good designers fled the sinking ship, a lot of those black artists that the brands were treating as patsys got better management & started inking better deals, getting design credits to their names & gross cuts of the take…instead of just sweet gear. Level-up capabilities they weren’t supposed to be intelligent enough to have.
B. A lot of the people giving those arbiters the secret handshake intro in realized they too were being played…and just stepped back …to let charlatans with no true cool geist blow the same smoke the arbiters had laced back up their asses, making the arbiters think they were above-trend and avant garde when they were actually just getting high off their own supply. Through their assholes lol.
C. Historical connection to the viciousness and trauma in the triggering images waned. The kids just didn’t take the insult in the way their parents did. The cultural jabs and backhands just didn’t hit the same anymore. A kid who has grown up with all its pop stars acting like media outlets say black people do (on repeat) to sell records has different synapses in play than the Al Jolson era kid. What was once a punch in the gut has become an offer from Becky (or Todd) to give them a blow job.
So when marketing departments try to get all old-school swing, batta batta… They’re comically having a hard time making the truly intended, harmful and disparaging effect.
Case in Point.
Adidas(waning brand) released their black history month collection… Featuring the above shoe as an emblem of Black Culture they’re celebrating, this year supposedly focused on the Harlem Renaissance.
There is an uproar…just not the traumatized one their bottom line was expecting.
The kids are like …laughing at them over how bizarrely Adidas missed the mark.
The kicks weren’t pulled in an outrage, they have been pulled for being a laughingstock.
Now I have no dawg in the Adidas race. Never liked the shoe. It’s always been a shoe that wasn’t cut for shit IMO. Onitsuka Tigers are cut better and that’s all I give a fuck for in sneakers. (Feiyues better that Tigers, btw).
But fashion history-wise?
Black culture popularity has saved that Adidas brand from going under multiple times.
If anyone Should, by grace of their own story arc, have a better understanding of the market it’s them.
But death throes make motherfuckers go Crazy.
Because on the surface it seems like Adidas has lost its mind. Like the charlatans really had a good time with them. No one could make any sense of the positioning of this all white shoe in the collection.
So they mocked it.
But if you are Gen-X & tilt your head you can see the truth, a truth sailed over these kids heads. Which I have said for many years was going to be the true victory some day. Space for that-Laughter, at the stupidity inherent IN racism.
What is the truth that was missed?
What was The Intent that was to Al Jolson/traumatize a new gen & help Adidas pay whatever piper had them by the dick?
This is from the Complex article:
“The design in question was dubbed the “Celebrating Black Culture” Ultra Boost Uncaged. It featured a cream white upper devoid of any of the usual colors and patterns usually seen on many “BHM” releases. Its only visible details were red, black, and purple eyelets.”
“…What the fuck does an all white tennis shoe have to do with Black History Month?”
“& Why is it called Uncaged? How is that related to the Harlem Renaissance?”
Depends on what they’d consider a “renaissance,” what they’d like to see rebirthed that would make them feel a false sense of stability wherever They want it to look like they stand.
In elementary, middle and the first few years of high school in urban Cleveland, although it never happened at the sequestered schools I attended, left and right black kids were not just killing each other for Jordans. They were exploding on each other for scuffing their expensive, pristine white sneakers.
You could get jumped, killed for messing up a guy’s white Adidas. They used to carry around toothbrushes to keep them spotless. The shoes were worshipped. Being able to afford them.
Adidas has as much blood on its hands as Jordan due to the scores of kids sacrificed over those dumb assed shoes. Them being HOT lined up with hordes of black kids dying for Nothing, in Harlem & everywhere else. & the company liked it just fine.
The newscasters used to jeer & mock across the 6 o’clock news about the “wild black kids running around like animals[Uncaged], killing each other for stepping on their white shoes.”
The media machine loved it.
Me? We had disposable income, lived nicely, we could afford fn Jordans. But my older brother and his boys got fights picked with them all the time over those fucking shoes. My Art Boyz too. The things I watched young black dudes do to not get jumped over some bullshit.
That’s why I never bought any of them.
That fucking toothbrush and white shoe-polish.
Guys had shoe care rituals as intense as black girls had with their hair. Only as an adult do I fully get why. They knew every time they put those fuckers on and hit the streets it could end up in a blood sacrifice. They worshipped them. Wearing them took courage, meant you were a bad ass, willing to die for bullshit. The more guns poured in, the worse it got.
The issue today?
The offspring of those who survived that era got a chance to raise different kids, a chance many of us took.
I saw the laughter…
And I cried out a bit. Because I could see what Adidas tried to glorify in its death throes…
but all I heard was the current generation’s Laughter.
A return to their ancestor’s whispered about Sacred Order. More….Malleable…times, when black kids ran rampant killing each other off so the cops didn’t have to do the dirty work. The ultimate mini-Manchurian candidate trope. There’d be no kneeling during the anthem in protest back then. They were preoccupied trying to stay alive.
Pay attention to the definition motherfuckers give of the good old days.