Sneaker culture has evolved into its own way of life in the post Jordan era. Most people don’t remember there was a time when even the basic Air Jordan 1′s were outlawed by the NBA for not adhering to the uniform code. You know Nike happily paid that fine, and the edict gave an outlaw/rebel element that always appeals to American youth.Fast forward a couple decades and we’ve seen the sneaker industry become a juggernaut with a third market, traveling conventions and tentacles that stretch into other areas of fashion and commerce.
We’ve seen some lame ass kicks along the way. The Karl Malone light-up LA Gears. The Kobe joints that looked like an Audi. The Nike Pumps with the big hunk on the back. Sometimes the fault is a design with no flavor. Sometimes the design is just a bad idea. And other times…*sigh we have things like the latest Adidas joints, complete with chain and name plate. Many feel the plate is more a shackle and representative of slavery.
I joke a lot concerning the various forms of ignorant prevalent in pop culture and mass media, particularly stuff like reality television. I regularly ask to bring slavery back, but never did I ever think they would take me seriously.
Personally, they look more like some moron with no clue about hood culture or Black people though it would be cute to put a faux gold chain on some kicks. It didn’t occur to me that they looked like shackles because the first pics I saw was a profile. But even then, with such a long history with Hip-Hop, from Run DMC to now, and with parent company Reebok putting so much money behind connecting with Hip-Hop with multiple campaigns, NOBODY stopped and said…”Uh guys, this might be some bullshit?”
I’m not too upset over it, although with today being Juneteenth and all, the unintentional comedy of some Air Slaves is off the charts. Maybe a designer WAS listening to rap on one of those lastfm channels. Maybe they fell asleep during Nas’ classic “You Owe Me” and the last thing he heard was Ginuwine belting out “shackles on you feeeeeet, you oooowe me.” Then homie woke up with what he thought was the best idea ever. Just imagine if you buy WHOOO a naby blue pair?
This one of so many instances where someone ignorant of black culture gets caught out there slinging offensive shit to Black people because they know there will be no repercussions. Could you ever imagine Adidas busting out with some Air Swastikas? Probably not.
It’s Juneteenth and you’re free to do whatever you like. If you think these kicks are on the that’s what’s up list, by all means consume like you always do. Maybe they’ll get hot enough in the streets that you’ll get stomped out for your size elevens. All’s well that ends well. Word to Kunta.
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