Recently, I heard of an infuriating piece of news about a police officer who stopped a Black man driving his Mercedes from a nightclub in Birmingham, England and described him as ‘fitting the profile’ of a gangster.
Slim Thug an American rapper wearing a stocking cap!
Many celebrities are known as fashion icons, especially rappers, such as the legendary Tupac. Known for his lyrics and timeless style, Tupac was a trendsetter, wearing a bandana paired with baggy overalls or a Red Wings jersey. However,he was considered a gangster, embroiled in gun–carrying,street–fighting culture.
Ironically, many have criticised these so–called gangsters for the cost of their clothing. Currently, some celebrities, especially hip-hop artists who portray themselves as gangsters in their dress style and song lyrics, are being criticised for distancing themselves from their fans by increased endorsements for expensive brands in the media. It’s been said that the wrong message is being sent by suggesting that fans must hustle, steal, or rob to be fly (fashionable)!
In the late 1990s, Guru of Gang Starr was robbed of his Rolex watch at gunpoint; Queen Latifah was car-jacked; and, in October 2016, Kim Kardashian, the wife of rapper Kanye West, was robbed at gunpoint at her private apartment in Paris. So, how does this sit with the statement made by the English police officer above?
A DJ wearing a zip-up hoodie and Checkerboard frame sunglasses.
The Christian Dior look is more upbeat than uptown, but why spend thousands of pounds on clothing when you’re about to commit some heinous crime? Please Mr Policeman, answer that.
Perhaps, the police officer does not know the difference between a Christian Dior outfit and one from Primark (no offence intended).
Rihanna is considered to be fashion royalty and has endorsed iconic brands like Dior. The fashion industry is acknowledging the marketing power of America’s biggest cultural export. Hip-hop has, since the end of 2017, surpassed rock to become the most popular music genre in the US.
Alexander Wang, a fan of hip-hop music, has shown his collection with Cardi B, an American rapper, in the front rowbeside Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and themost powerful figure in fashion. What we are now seeing isthose considered to be elite, embracing the fashion that would normally be considered as ‘gangster’. They are seen in Gucci, Dior Homme and Calvin Klein, which are often inspired by hip-hop culture.
If Cardi B, Rihanna or ASAP Rocky (known for his 2013 hit ‘Fashion Killa’ and high–end tailoring, often courtesy of Dior Homme) were driving home from a nightclub in a Mercedes, how likely is it that they would be stopped by the police? By this English police officer’s view, it is highly likely.
In his ‘Fashion Killa’ video, ASAP Rocky gives shout–outs to luxury mega–brands like Prada, Dolce &Gabbana and Ann Demeulemeester. He has expressed his view about the creativity and execution of designers’ clothing. Is this the language of a gangster about to commit a heinous crime? He who starred in Dior Homme’s Autumn/Winter 2016 and Spring/Summer 2017 campaign?
ASAP Rocky’s all Gucci look.
Surely wearing anything expensive and ostentatious always brings attention.
Such attention brings confrontation, jealousy and envy especially from those who cannot afford it.
Perhaps that police officer felt better, to justify his own obvious shortcoming, by putting another person down and stereotyping (in this case) the DJ as a lowlife gangster. Instead of recognising the DJs financial success and ability to positively live a more affluent and fulfilling life, by setting a fashion trendsetting tone, or even recognising that the DJ took pride in his unique and stylish appearance by simply being fly!