It baffles me when I think about the state of the world today – compared to the state of the world in the past, and I realize that not only are things the same, but somehow managing to get worse. Todays post brings those feelings into actual strings of words and revolves around the “World War Tour Tee” by Rebel 8 in collaboration with Killer Mike, who is a rapper, and activist that stands for current day issues similar to what the BPP stood for. I’m a huge advocate for using fashion as a visual platform to bring awareness about the world into play, so seeing this collection instantly intrigued me. Not a lot of street wear brands stand for something "more" nowadays, but this collection made me gain a lot more respect than I already had for this brand and what they stand for. This tee features the iconic Black Panther from the Black Panther Party, which was founded in Oakland in 1966 to challenge police brutality while also giving attention to other social community programs. Now, if I took this little history recap and changed it into a group forming in present day, 2017, would any of us be surprised? Not the least bit. And that is where the problem lies. The fact that our world today could probably still use a group like The Black Panthers to bring justice, awareness, and social action for minorities in the United States is a concept that shouldn’t exist. But how can it not? The group’s earlier days were fueled by the death of Matthew Johnson, a 16 year old unarmed African American man who was shot by the police in San Francisco. Today, a group could be fueled by the same exact acts. We live in a much more diverse country. You’d think that would mean a more open-minded mindset, but in turn things seem to be getting worse. The same acts of brutality exist – and not just the ones that are brought to our attention through the media.
Almost every POC that I’ve spoken to, including myself, has experienced or been close to someone who has experienced extreme hate/mistreatment because of the color of their skin or the way they look. The same acts of police brutality take place and keep happening. People are still scared to go to job interviews because they're worried that their appearance will be judged more than their experience. The president is a threat rather than a person that can be relied on – and words that Killer Mike said when speaking on the Michael Brown case in 2014 still resonate with the state of this country today:
"I have searched all night and day for new and better words that could express my feelings and fear for the people of this country. I found no new words. I have no hope-filled insight to deliver. I only have this warning to all Americans: Whatever this country is willing to do to the least of us, it will one day do to us all." --- Killer Mike on CNN
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this is the world we live in, and in some ways it may always be. But I do have hope in one thing – and that is most of our generation. There will always be those that are misinformed but I feel that most of the young individuals that I know today are so much more aware, vocal, and active about the mishaps that take place in our society. The youth will go on to become the new police officers, leaders, hiring managers, and much more of our future. My hope lies in their intentions to do right by all people, and to see that it’s high time we stop letting differences that mean nothing dictate everything. I can honestly say that each person that I meet who is different than me in culture, or background, always ends up leaving new knowledge and wisdom in my life.
So why are we still opposing the differences when we should be celebrating them? There is so much art, conversation, innovation, and growth that come from our differences. Let us make a conscious effort to always remind ourselves of that fact. I hope you leave this post with a little food for thought and think about what you can do each day to make a little bit of a difference, even if it simply means to extend kindness to every stranger that you come across. We can all use the positivity, and assurance, that the world isn’t as corrupt as it is seeming to be nowadays.
Shout out to Kerstyn (_@dippedinblack) from Rebel 8 for sending me this dope gear.
Photography by: Thomas Sereno (@thomassereno)
Outfit details: Tee – Rebel8, Shoes – FentyxPuma, Sunnies – QuayxDesi Highkey fades
With love, light, and hope,