Nikes Up in Flames

Furious rage spreads like wildfire among former Nike consumers following the multinational brand’s 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring, former 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick on Monday, Sept. 3.

As people across the nation relaxed from a day off work: indulging in festive barbecues and parades; the fate of the nations political stance relied on (Kaepernick) who yet again broke the internet-not by taking a knee this time, but standing in alliance with the iconic brand, inevitably sending social media users into an enraged frenzy.  Which led most to raid their closets and rid their wardrobe of Nike apparel. Supporters, applaud Nike for its act of morality in commending Kaepernick rather than condemning.  

Since the announcement, social media uncontrollably buzzes with supporters reposting Kaepernick’s controversial Nike ad.

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Along with celebrities and ordinary civilians, alike, creating their own variation Kaepernick’s photograph.

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The country now in divides as Nike supporters take a celebratory stance on this decision versus the opposing side igniting flames to their Nike gear.

When did freedom of speech and protest represent disloyalty?  Athletes and public figures, who have an established platform are entitled to exercise their personal beliefs and advocate for unresolved social injustices (i.e, routined police brutality).  When did protesting for basic human rights and equality become a symbolism of national hatred or deemed as unpatriotic?  

Even with all this heat Nike faces from protestors, the brand seems to have its laces tied tight, in preparation to walk through the fire, refusing to kneel to the status quo. Even if it means jeopardizing the global brand.

According to Edison Trend most recent sales report, mentioned on MarketWatch, Nike has witnessed a 31% increase, in opposition of the anticipated decline influenced by national protests.

We are not too sure what the national divide in consumership means for the future of Nike sales performance. Evidently, Nike is unwavered by the protests and threats.The company remains optimistic about their choice and refueled to extinguish any flames set in their path.

“Are your Dreams Crazy Enough? If they seem impossible right now, you’re doing it right.” (Quote featured on Nike’s official website page.)

Feel free to indulge in some hilarious and controversial memes featuring familiar faces. Enjoy!

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Long Live X !

Lately, I’ve been doing my best to ensure that I  practice what I preach; keeping in mind to reciprocate the same energy unto myself I exude to others.

It always seem to amaze me how the death or birth of one person could shake the world up and evoke universal emotions, causing people to put their differences aside. So, when you hear people say music is their life, believe them it’s no joke. XXXTentacion’s influence on his cult-like fanbase is proof.

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The name XXXTentacion might be unfamiliar to most and up until his death that was probably your first introduction to him. For other people, just hearing his name brings tears to their eyes. I have a confession, when I received the news of his death, it took me a minute to put a face to the name. Even then I still had some difficulty and immediately did what most people do when we need a visual reminder, googled him.  I had never personally went out of my way to search his music and listen to it.  I told myself I wouldn’t listen to the hip-hop freshman of this generation and cancelled him out before even giving him a try.

Well, look at me now. I spent the last few days since XXXTentacion’s transition (06.18.2018) obsessively listening to his music on streaming sites such as sound cloud and apple music. I have to admit his talent exceeds far beyond intense messages of his troubled life and turnt up riot music. He presents his real life experiences, pains, and inspirational messages to fans, then etches them into his musically inclined talents.

His musical style is an infusion of diverse genres including: alternative rock, heavy metal, and of course, hip hop/rap. My eyes have been glued to youtube searching for any answers to reveal the truth about his untimely death-others may arguably say, it was a publicity stunt and he’s still very much alive.

This is why the cliche “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” quote continuously resurfaces in my life. Before listening to his music, I remember seeing images of XXXTentacion: dreadlocks wildly protruding from his head, dark squinted eyes, tatted body from face to torso and a grim, unsmiling face.

0621-xxxtentacion-insta-3I saw the images and instantly judged him. I’m usually not one to judge, but let’s be honest everyone judges to some extent, whether it’s intentional or unintentional.  I’m in no position to judge, but his pictures gave me a eerie vibe. My first thoughts were, he’s either on some heavy drugs; a demon worshipper in the industry; or just another trap rapper, with nonsensical rhymes who will end up having a short lived career.

I guess in some instances my judgement was true, indeed his career was short lived but to my knowledge all of my other assumptions held no truth.

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From what I read in articles, heard in his lyrics, watched on youtube interviews and his social media videos, his life wasn’t perfect and he wasn’t perfect.  Based on the alleged assaults and incidents he seemed self destructive; constantly getting into fights and harming others. Yet, he was mindful of becoming a better man and he used his music as a cathartic method to express his personal pains, while voicing his opinions about the injustices of the world. He served as a catalyst for the youth to promote love (on all levels), and speak positivity; always reminding his supporters (mostly adolescents) to not cheat themselves of living to their greatest potential.

XXXTenatacion was categorized as a  “black sheep” “troubled”  whatever other adjectives the media and the general population have listed him underneath are welcome to this list. It truly saddens me to write this post because we all have a purpose-maybe his was fulfilled or only getting started. What so ever it was, each of our experiences are different for a reason and no one leads a perfect life. By the way, what is perfect? if you’re perfect then you’ll have no room to grow or learn. Ask yourself this, would you rather be perfect than flawed?  The human race has fallen into the dark pit of desensitization. We are quick to label, judge, scrutinize and condemn without having  full awareness of ourselves and confronting our own demons.

I didn’t know him on a personal level or even reached a pinnacle to converse with him. From my personal research, I’ve only seen the media depict a distorted perception of him. Yet, i decided to perceive him in my own light and not based on someone else’s opinion of him. I always try to remind myself:

Keep an open

Research

Know the facts

& Bring them to the table with YOUR perspective

In the days, months, years to come, I hope the novelty of XXXTentacion’s death doesn’t wear off instantly. We live in an age where gun and gang violence are normalized, we mourn for a few seconds then quickly forget and move on with our lives.

Yeah, you might read this and call me a “fake supporter” but sometimes it takes death for someone to live eternally. I don’t mean live in the sense of physicality but spiritual and lyrically. I’ll admit, I’m not a day one but from now on I’m a forever.

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Rest easy Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy,  the world will NEVER forget you.

LONG. LIVE. X.

Black Panther: A Hidden Gem

Is Black Panther really for the culture?

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Some claim the film to be over-hyped, while others perceive it as a cultural movement.

After all the hype and major suspense, leading up to the official premiere day of “Black Panther.” I finally bought my ticket (a few days later because the movie was sold out the entire weekend) and with the company of my 7-year-old nephew, we headed out to join the glorious nation of Wakanda. (sigh) No, we didn’t join the wave of wearing traditional African garb. Truthfully, I don’t own any at the moment (yea, yea, I know shame on me). However, we still looked pretty good in our casual modern, westernized ensembles.

It’s refreshing to see Black actors (of all ages) step away from Hollywood’s stereotypical “Black roles” which often limit our narratives to enslavement, and a variety of other societal forms of oppression: drug dealers, impoverished/ struggling working class people, drug addicts and common victims of authoritative inflicted violence.

Let me just say this, any movie that makes you want to join a fictionalized nation is- in my opinion- a life changing and enjoyable experience. I’d love to live in Wakanda; if it were a real nation, I’d revoke my American citizenship and move there in a heartbeat.

I mean no shade to the hundreds of other classic Marvel superhero films that have countless remakes. Once again, no shade, noooo shade:(#AllMarvelSuperheroLivesMatter). It’s just Black Panther’s story-in contrast to his fellow Marvel counterparts- was never brought to the forefront and popularized in the mainstream. Black panther isn’t a new super hero on the scene, he’s nearly 6 decades old. So, yea, he’s pretty mature at this point.

I guess it’s fair to say, some of the best things are worth waiting for. & 2018 was definitely Black Panther’s time so shine.

It warmed my heart seeing various hues of beautiful brown complexion grace the cinematic screen and deliver their roles with ferocious power.

Black Panther presented more than just vibrant, intense combatting; dope high tech equipment, afrocentric beauty; national/cultural pride; innovation and traditional rituals. It depicts, the story of Africa in a positive, uplifting and forward thinking way- without the spoon fed HIStoric accounts of poverty and emaciated people. Before someone comes on here and tries to burst my proud ‘black panther bubble’ let me clarify; Yes,I’m aware the story is fictionalized. But there’s no denying that the influential sources derive from actual African cultures.

WahKinda LOVE? WAKANDA LOVE.

 

Another thing, I’ve been keeping in my hypercritical mind when it comes to watching movies are the overt portrayals of love and the role(s) each love interest plays.

Now, we all know it’s clear who the film’s central love interests are: T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)

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T’Challa plays the role of a powerful leader who is both influenced and weakened by women. His sister Shuri, is a young innovative scientist, whose technologically advanced inventions- with the use of a natural resource (vibranium)-enhances T’Challa’s abilities, allowing him to seem nearly indestructible against his opponents. It’s with Shuri’s inventions that T’Challa simultaneously defeats and protects his precious Wakanda.

 

The film projects heterosexual love in a different light for both genders; Love is perceived as patient, unwavering, persistent, protective, and eternal. The love T’Challa displays for his country and lover, Nakia, are somewhat similar, yet deeply disparate.

The romanticized stereotypes of male obsession, sexual acts, conversations revolving around the male figure were not present in this film. Tbh, I’m relieved. I’m beyond tired of these redundant, cliche plot lines.

Neither, T’Challa or Nakia, portray cliche gender biased characteristics (i.e., the female= submissive or usually lacking self-confidence, sometimes both; male= dominate, popular and physically attractive) instead T’Challa and Nakia demonstrate their strong rapport through mutual respect and balance. The males in the utopian society of Wakanda level the playing field by showing respect for their women through, inclusion, understanding, leadership and influence. There is an overall respect for female influence in Wakanda.

I find  T’Challa’s inability to think or speak freely in Nakia’s presence so cute and innocent. What’s even more humorous about it, is how often he’s teased for his act. Once again, there is a clear message of the strength feminine aura upholds in this society and its undeniably powerful influence on men.

Nakia asserts her power by vocalizing her wants and aspirations to T’Challa. Although Nikia is offered the  honor of claiming the throne as T’Challa’s wife and Queen of Wakanda; she chooses  to follow her own path and fulfill her desires before settling for a life blanketed with comfort (You go girl!).T’Challa respects her wishes and continues to show his undying love for Nakia in other ways.

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I appreciate the writers and most importantly the characters for showing us that it’s possible to express love far beyond the confines of physicality or intimacy. Not once was there an act of sexual expression or subliminal messages. Thank God! It would’ve been awkward having to explain that to my nephew. 

Both characters were aware of their significant roles in one another’s lives, but used their love to join forces to fight for their even greater love, Wakanda.

So, to answer the question. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe Black Panther

is the culture

for the culture

and is a representation of the culture.

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