From Infinity to Infinity

I don’t claim to know what goes on behind closed brand doors, and as I am neither notable individual, nor am I designer, I don’t intend to ever find out. What I do know is this; Black culture is the archetype, and Black women are leading the way.

Sneaker culture, much like damn near everything else, takes root in Black culture, and is cultivated heavily by the Black dollar, and trends set by Black women. Yet, with few exceptions – and most of those few being men – Blackness is barely visible around sneaker industry tables, Blackness is rarely honored for its true excellence, Black women are infrequently recognized as industry vanguards.

The sneaker industry knows who built it though, and it knows who the trailblazers are, because they pander to us, in winks and nods in some of their designs.

Case in point – these upcoming Nike denim Jordan 1s.

Image courtesy of woganwodeyang

Who are these for? Who do they remind you of?

Let me

give you

a hint

I want a girl with extensions in her hair
Bamboo earrings, at least two pair

LL Cool J “Around The Way Girl”

Key says via a Sample Size discussion regarding Black History Month sneakers {or the lack thereof this year} and this pair in particular: “When I look at the gold hoop, I think of pure just Blackness…” noting that brands know what is representative of Black culture, and still fail to do anything sincere with that knowledge.

We don’t know the backstory of these sneakers beyond rumor, but the blatant inspiration of Black women is too loud to be kept so fucking quiet.

It’s Nike being a complicit piece of the racist structure that allows non-Black women to get away with stealing Black culture, wearing Black culture as a costume to be removed when they no longer want to be perceived as we are, and using Black culture, our humanity, and our bodies as accessories with no recourse, for me.

See also: Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, the Jenners and Kardashians, non-Black women in sneaker communities.

This year alone, between Black History Month seeing us receive somewhat customizable black Air Force Ones that included a pair of solid black {because Black folks = black AF1 energy} and this, I’m forced to conclude {again} that Nike lazily reveres profit over people, and certainly has no care or respect for the Black backs it built and continues to build its empire on, except to occasionally wave a handful of Black collaborators in our faces as proof otherwise.

As of current {as far as I’ve seen} no women have even held a pair of the “Denim” 1 women’s exclusives in their hands, least of all the Black women who could best connect the pair to their own stories. But there’s plenty of time before the Hunger Games to own them begin when they’re released in Ju- sorry, September of this year, so maybe that will change. {To be fair there are, at most, five sneaker news outlets or influencers to have received an early look, there haven’t been any official images released by Nike either.} And maybe we’ll hear the story behind the design then too, because Jordan may love denim, but I ain’t never seen him rock even a single pair of bamboo earrings, so let’s get really real.

Look, I’m not disclosing anything new – we know we’re only a target – and we’ll still sink money into the Nike machine. For now. I’m no exception. I’m just not going to do it quietly anymore. We are too many transgressions into this toxic relationship and giving credit, at the very least, to the Black women who carry sneaker culture is long, long overdue.

Believe it or not this post started out as a not review of the ridiculously delicious Saucony x Hommewrk collaboration that I adore and am wearing on foot, but clearly I had some other feelings to let go of, so that will come soon. “Thank Black Women” shirt from Philadelphia Printworks.

If they can listen well enough to exploit us, they can listen well enough to do better.

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