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We Have Work To Do

Mario Moore

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I honestly don't even know where to begin. I think I have typed and deleted my opening sentence about three hundred times now. Also, I think I have stared at a blank screen for about thirty minutes. So, I think my aforementioned statement is a true reflection of how I feel right about now. My thoughts and feelings are all over the place. I’m mad, I'm sad, I'm disappointed, but I am also motivated and inspired. What I mean by that, is while a Trump presidency is one of the worst things to happen to this country, it made me feel feelings I have never felt before. When I sat and reflected on this year,  specifically this election, I felt a sense of renewed purpose. It showed me that we have work to do. It showed me that the progress that America has made, if it has made any, was only temporary at best. It’s going to take education, it’s going to take unity, it’s going to take sacrifice of time, it’s going to take love, it’s going to take God. We may never see the full progression of America in our lifetime, but to know that I have left it in a better place than I found it, is more than enough for me to feel as though I lived a purposeful life. So, instead of asking how/why Donald Trump was elected, or feeling sorry or helpless as a people, let’s do more! I don't have all the answers, but I wanted to touch on a few things that I think could help.

 

Social Media Activism vs. Real Activism

 

If you were like me, or any socially aware millennial, (I hate that term btw) you were tuned into the circus also known as social media, where everyone either majored in Political Science or African American studies. I witnessed people who probably went to a Malcom X middle school, where they were required to read a James Baldwin book, act as if they're Cornell West. Look, I’m here for all of my “woke” brotha’s and sista’s. My problem is that it stops with the status updates and retweets. These individuals urge people to vote, but they themselves don’t vote. They talk about uplifting and teaching, but haven't done anything but retweet Shaun King or Deray. We should be in the streets of our communities donating our time, teaching, and mentoring the youth. Change starts with the youth. They are the next leaders. They need exposure. They need less Cardi B’s, and more Michelle’s. They need to know that we care.  

 

Unity

 

For whatever reason, we have the hardest time, as a people, getting on the same page. My biggest pet peeve with us is the self hate we have for each other. I have seen way too many people putting down, or belittling othersjust because they aren’t as educated on how the voting process works as they are. I challenge you, instead of talking down on your fellow brother or sister, use it as a coaching and development opportunity. I think we have developed this elitist attitude, where we think because we have material possessions, and have obtained a certain level of success that we are better than others who haven't reached that level. Let me be the first to hit you with a quote by a famous philosopher by the name of Kanye West who once said, “Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe.” I say that to say, it doesn't matter how much money or status you obtain, you will never be seen as an equal to them. We also need to get on the same page as it relates to police killings. I heard someone say, “You need to not resist arrest, and just do what the police say and you will be ok”. I wonder if you asked Philando Castile’s girlfriend what happened after he complied, and did what the officer told him to do, what her response would be. We have to stop having this house nigga mentality. Last but not least, our Black lives matter. Stop letting the media feed you the narrative that we as black people don't care about our lives, because if we did then there would be no black on black crime. Now, I'm not naive to think we don't have problems in our community that need immediate attention, but I wasn'tborn last night either. You would have to be a dumb ass not to factor in geography and basic demographics. Of course black on black crimes happen, just like white on white, or brown on brown crimes happen. It’s based on population clusters. We need to stop with the self hate, the colorisim, the elitist attitudes and find a way to unify.

 

Educate Yourself When Voting

 

It’s one thing to vote, it’s another thing to be an educated voter. On twitter, I saw someone say they voted for Hillary, but after that they just selected the most blackest sounding names on the ballot. At first I thought it was funny, then I wondered how many people might actually be doing that. You have to know who is on the ballot and what they stand for. If you don't educate yourself you're not only doing yourself a disservice, but you're doing your community one as well.

 

Put God First

 

You have to put God first and have faith, but also we have to put the work in to yield the results we want. We can’t just be out here praying and hoping for the best. That’s like asking God for an A on an exam, but not actually studying. Take it from someone whose transcripts are a direct result of praying and not studying. I’ll be the first to tell you that’s not the move at all.

 

 

 

 

Like I said, I don't have all the answers, but I know that I have a platform with the BMG. If I don't use it I'm just adding to the problems. I usually don't write lengthy posts, but I felt compelled to say something. I just want to leave you with this: we have work to do.

 

 

Muhammad Ali : champion. activist. style icon ?

Greg Thomas

“He said to me ‘I’m a gentleman now, I have to look like one,’” said the Life magazine photographer Mr Gordon Parks, whose own dapper style Mr. Ali sought to emulate. “He always presented himself in this smart, clean way, both to distance himself from the heritage of boxing, which had been pretty sleazy up to then, with its links to organized crime, and also because he saw himself as an aspirational figure to young, disenfranchised black kids. He wanted to present himself as the opposite of a thug, and his well-cut suits and the attention to detail in his dress was a crucial element in that image.” - excerpt taken from Mr. Porter, an online style publication.

 

 

When we think of Muhammad Ali, we always associate him with being the greatest boxer of all time. We think of the trash talk. We think of the things he stood for whether it be the empowerment of black people, or his islamic faith, but we never really talk about how stylish he was, nor do we think of why it was important.

 

When I think about personal style the term “sense of self ” comes to mind. Ali had a great sense of self he knew exactly who was. "Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it and I don't want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name - it means beloved of God, and I insist people use it when people speak to me.” It was things like this that exemplified the fact that he knew who he was. He didn't conform to popular demand or what was “in” at the time. He was the people’s champ but he was the people’s champ on his own terms. He joined the Nation Of Islam and was very outspoken about his religious beliefs.He sacrificed his livelihood when he refused to join the army during the Vietnam War. He knew his purpose and knew what he stood for.

 

Being self aware is the most stylish thing one can do and Ali fully embraced that. 

 

 

 

Pardon my rant ! (Part Deux)

Mario Moore

“Pardon My Rant” is a monthly series where Greg, the style editor, goes in on things he hates from Fashion injustices to Man buns.

 

photo courtsey of  Soraya Zaman

photo courtsey of Soraya Zaman

 

How many people are excited about H&M’s upcoming collaboration with Kenzo? Well, let me tell you who isn't. Me.

 

 I hate when luxury brands collaborate with fast fashion companies. It really cheapens the brand. If you don't know what fast fashion is, it’s a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express designs that move from the catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year. Emphasis is on optimizing certain aspects of the supply chain in order for these trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at a lower price. This philosophy of quick manufacturing at an affordable price is used in large retailers such as H&M, Topshop, and Zara. 

 

I have two problems with fast fashion:

 

1) it’s way too trendy and poorly made and

 2) they don't care about the environment.  

 

So, the clothes either fall apart or fall out of style in the next six months. In an article written in Esquire magazine, H&M said it manufactures 600 million items a year for more than 3,200 stores in 55 countries. As the company grows, its demands for cotton, electricity, oil and water become immense—even as it claims to focus on organic cotton (which, in 2014 only accounted for 13.7 percent of its cotton).  

 

As I mentioned before, the clothes are poorly made, which is one of the reasons why it hurts the brand. There is a lot of craftsmanship and quality control that goes into making luxury clothes. For example, I was watching a documentary the other day call Dior and I, based on Raf Simmons’ first collection with Dior. There was one scene where the seamstress were in the Atelier (fancy term for studio), making a gown and hand-sewing pearls all over the dress. Maybe you didn't get that. I just said these two ladies were hand-sewing pearls on a dress. I still have a hard time cutting my sandwich in half for lunch. I couldn't even imagine hand-sewing pearls on a dress. Those are the types of things that go on behind the scenes of Luxury fashion brands. Next time someone asks you why did you pay 150 dollars for a t-shirt, you tell them that story. H&M doesn't care about quality at all; it just wants to knock off brand designs and sell them to you at a lower price and for lower quality.

 

When they say making things accessible to everyone, I think they were talking about clean drinking water (unless you’re Governor Snyder) or a quality school system (unless you’re the Detroit Public Schools System being ripped off by administration). It definitely doesn't apply to Luxury fashion. 

 

If you can’t afford it, don't buy the watered down version. Instead, save your money and invest in quality pieces that will last you for years to come— not weeks.

PS : you don't want to end up looking like these clowns

Last year at an H&M store for the collab with Balmain Video courtesy of the shade room 

 

 

If you have any style questions, feel free to shoot me a tweet @wheresgregory_D or email me at blackmensguide@gmail.com