I have always known that I am “Black”. I absorbed it. Inhaled and exhaled it. Do you know how much my people have done DESPITE odds being against them? The contributions to society… to humankind period. Were it not for us… whew the list is long. It is full of luxurious amenities to all yet patented by few.
But while I am “Black” I have an affinity for cross-cultural finds. I thought with my blackness early on in my life. I was and am very much for “buying black” first. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and do-what-we-gotta folks. Years ago my step-father called me the militant midget (I didn’t get the midget part at 5’9, plus he was the shorty). I was down for the cause.
But my first inclination is aesthetic. I am a fan of Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, and Donna Karan. These ladies are just examples. Simplistic elegance describes their style. It is chic and conservative with edge and glamour when it needs to be. Flipping through a magazine I look for what pleases my senses. From design to imagery.
Now, to the title. We have heard in the news how Oprah encountered discrimination in Zurich and other places. The latest eyebrow-raising incident being Gucci with their blackface sweater and winter mask. (I wasn’t a full-fledged fan anyway) We have seen Dolce and Gabbana ads and runway shows that would make your eyes bleed at how sexist and racist they are, so it is in my psyche to plead that the artist behind what pleases my senses not be racist. I hate it. (To use a strong word.) I am still convinced that is both a distraction and publicity stunt on the part of major brands. “All press is good press”… until it is not. Really we play into it as well.
Considering the vast contributions and the amazing resiliency and talent that is lifted regularly from people who look like me, I hate that I always have to be on guard. Truly it is the preservation of mine and my ancestor’s honor in a world so corrupt as to appropriate (to use the latest buzzword) from the backs of melaninated people. I have to think… ‘I hope they aren’t racist’ before I can enjoy something that looks good.
I can’t say that is the case in reverse because what is created by us is stolen so that it eliminates the stigma of “oh a black person made it”? While that may seem like a dramatic statement… well it isn’t. Here is a list…
Pop Music which is essentially converted from all the music we make anyway
“African” prints (we know they are originally made in Indonesia)
Rock and Roll
and runway findings everywhere.
How about this… let’s create a list of POC style brands to support! And Go!
*originally written February 2016… the cycle continues