The good, the bad, the gangster.

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. 

The 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 guncarrying,streetfighting culture.

 

Ironically, many have criticised these socalled 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 bad

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).  

The good

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.

Cardi B.

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 highend 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 shoutouts to luxury megabrands 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!

3 thoughts on “The good, the bad, the gangster.

  1. The fashion industry can’t live without the street styles, fashion and culture, and the sooner we recognise that sooner we can take control of our own Fashion Institute in these big named fashion brands our ideas so they can copyright them and make them doing and make everybody believe that they came up with these brilliant fashion ideas. They keep stealing from the streets, copywriting our ideas then send them back to us at exorbitant prices . Not everything that glitters is gold time for the fashion Revolution.

  2. The fashion industry can’t live without the street styles, fashion and culture, and the sooner we recognise that sooner we can take control of our own Fashion Institute in these big named fashion brands our ideas so they can copyright them and make them doing and make everybody believe that they came up with these brilliant fashion ideas. They keep stealing from the streets, copywriting our ideas then send them back to us at exorbitant prices . Not everything that glitters is gold time for the fashion Revolution.

    1. Yes, cultural appropriation is one of the biggest fashion industry crimes. The latest perpetrator being Chanel, whereof it revealed its newest item: a $2000 boomerang featuring their signature logo. Never mind that the $2000 boomerang cost almost 10% of the average annual income of the Indigenous Australians.

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