What is Black Culture?
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The intersection of black culture and black men’s style is a broad and diverse one. They go hand in hand, all things considered.
Black men – no, black people- the world over rock with the diaspora. We all have our identifies rooted in, among many other things, our sense of unity.
But black culture isn’t just mainstream, popular culture. Unlike what the media, or the mainstream news cycles, or music videos would have you believe. No sir...it goes way deeper than all that.
What the above sources (media, studios, marketing executives, fashion brands etc.) would have you believe:
Black culture is a lifestyle based on the flashy and the expensive. Why do you think young men line up for overpriced basketball shoes with every new release?
It’s the flair in hip-hop, where every new artist seems to dress more uniquely and exotically (don’t get me wrong, I love hip-hop, just calling it like I see it).
While we don’t have a problem against any of this, too often black culture is tied back to things like excess, material wealth, and flashy displays (stunting in other words).
Where’s the black culture in that? When brands, products, and even musicians are made to appeal to us by marketing executives and company owners behind the curtain.
This, in turn, leads to people of other backgrounds have wrong conclusions about how we’re “supposed” to behave and act.
We wouldn’t define it as that..we’d define it as this:
- Back culture is the roll-up (the summary) of all contributions to lifestyle and living – from music, to clothing, to entertainment – by the black community.
- It draws from a variety of influences – from black communities all over the world, as well as from outside of them occasionally.
- Being black today is to be woke – aware of your place in society, as well as how others attempt to place expectations on you, and the influences / experiences that shape you on a daily basis.
As you might imagine, all this ties back to the fact that black culture is a limitless subject. Since we don’t have all day to go over background and history… let’s narrow our focus to the intersection of black culture and black men’s fashion.
Style shaped by the black / African diaspora is everywhere today. And it’s plain to see.
It can be as simple as a brother rocking a daishiki when being out and about. Or it might be a glimpse of an Afro when you’re out in the street.
The world is an increasingly smaller place. The arrival of globalization, technology, social media – all these things allow for more exposure to inter-regional black culture than ever before
Again, being woke – appreciating the diaspora and community that you’re a part of – is a thing now. Millennials and Generation Z have a strong desire to uncover truths about their African descent and ancestry.
And for other black peoples from West Indian cultures and so on – it’s much the same. No matter the background, men and women today are more aware of their descent and background than ever before.
There’s no doubt that black culture continues to express itself through style to this very day.
There’s also the fact that more talented black and African-American people are rising to prominence in the fashion industry today.
The, too, are putting their own unique stamp on black culture – apparel that symbolizes a message as much as it serves a function or purpose.
Many of these brands feature African-specific symbols, colors and prints. They celebrate black culture, prominently so.
Think of the countless hours that go into projects like these – and show your appreciation by checking out some of the links below.
The below business owners and entrepreneurs deserve your recognition and support!
Power In One
We at WDB admire Power In One. Opened back in 2011, Power In One was created with a very specific mission statement:
“To empower lifestyles by igniting the fire within each one of us – through fashion and ideas.”
Their store has a wide, varied collection of everything from tanks, to tees, to hats and more – all with Afro-centric messaging. Repping the (black) culture well!
8 & 9
Based in Miami, Florida, 8 & 9 is a black owned fashion brand that specializes in minimal streetwear. Their aesthetic is on point.
According to their mission statement, the background behind their name:
“Rooted in the symbolism of each digit 8 most often represents infinity, and 9 symbolizes perfection”. For them, it's all about refusing to settle and being on a constant path of improvement.
If you’re looking to rock some HBCU pride, Sweet Knowledge is the wave. Founded by Howard University alum Leslie Antonoff, this brand was designed for students and alumni and historically black schools to represent. Check them out!
Pride. That one word sums up HGC Apparel’s existence. Their tagline: “Feeding the Conscious Mind”. Inspired by black culture in the early 90’s, their apparel is very loud and in your face. Their mission - to bring pride and consciousness to the community.
Buried N Kulture
Their mission: To make “kultured’ people feel at home. To that effect, their site aesthetic, and apparel, is very striking. “Take care of home always and remain Loyal 2 the Soil”.
A menswear brand that’s inspired by classic American prep, the Brooklyn Circus stands out for its unique, dapper gentleman style. All looks that I definitely jive with.
Beautiful in Every Shade
On a mission to transform the way everyday folks see themselves, Beautiful in Every Shade has a , positive message. Their site has apparel across cultures, languages and more.
The pan-African culture has lead to an unparalleled richness of fashion and style throughout African history. Fashion, and black culture, are deeply intertwined.
(To Be Continued)
African American and black dress dress ties with the history of black people throughout the years.
(To Be Continued)