Fashionably Fight the Power and Stand up in Style
“What we need is awareness; we can’t get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved let’s get down to business
Mental self-defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
To make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Fight the power! Fight the power!
We’ve got to fight the powers that be
“Fight the Power” by Fashion Icons, Public Enemy”
The 2008 election of Barack Obama resulted in record numbers of men from around the country lining up in fashions that best represented every Beaux of color. The event brought Beauxs fresh from barber shops with their fresh linings and newly twisted locks and corn rolls, college students commuted from their campuses in their backpacks and hoodies, while private business owners and professional Beauxs in loafers and chest accentuating cardigans took time from the office to cast a vote on social issues they felt strongly about.
Ten years later, Beauxs are still choosing to look good while fighting against police brutality, homophobia, gender equality, gun control, and women's right to choose. As the list goes, so does the creativity in our deciding the role of fashion while fighting the power.
This spring, the runways of our city streets will continue to be filled with simple statement pieces as Beauxs make social and political statements in fashion. Before you rush to your closet to grab that black leather jacket, dashiki, or that African inspired wooden medallion from the eighties, be clear the social issues that capture your attention and the ways in which history's greats have taught us the ways in which we can be as fashionable as we are socially involved.
What laws or practices do you find disturbing? Which groups in your community are marginally disenfranchised? Are you still feeling the pain of police brutality? Are you outraged at the conditions that animals endure for profit? Are you, your family and friends still finding it challenging to accept that gender inequality is still a thing? Consider joining forces with a group of individuals who share similar interests and ideas and form an action plan.
“Better to die to fight for freedom than to be a prisoner all the days of your life.” -Bob Marley
Bob Marley, fought for political and religious freedoms in army fatigues, patchwork jeans, berets, knit caps, track jackets and military jackets and the revolution never looked so bohemian and carefree. Fashion up your political statements on war and peace from Marley’s playbook. Denim, military jackets, knit caps, beads, natural accessories underscore such topics as peace, ecology, and respect for the people and species of our planet. Inspiring t-shirts, wristbands and a modeled lifestyle communicate such issues naturally. Reimagine symbolism from nature to help give voice to your cause and let it assist you in fashionably fighting the power and taking you stance in and with style.
“You’ve got to find some way of saying it without saying it” ~ Duke EllingtonDuke
Ellington could walk into a room and set the bar higher for both dress and cool. He proved that you cannot overdress for an occasion when dressing with distinction; you become the standard, much like Ellington was. Ellington fought racism and discrimination before, during and after the Civil Rights Movement in a top hat, tux and tails, and a boutonniere to match.
Dark dapper suits and the very best of men’s fashion communicated Ellington's unwavering belief in equality. Take your stances on funding for the arts, and other social issues to the boardroom in total Beaux fashion. A looped red ribbon on your lapel will elegantly signify your continued support for funding, education, and community support in the ongoing HIV AIDS movements while wearing any shade of orange will bring attention when worn on October 28th for Unity Day, a day dedicated to bringing awareness to bullying. Collaborating with other Beauxs in your social movement circles is a great way to use fashion to raise awareness to an issue,
“And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of the revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built, and the only way it’s going to be built – is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone – I don’t care what color you are – as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”
Malcolm X was clearly on the right path in his fight for religious freedoms. His humility may have been masked by his confidence when he spoke but they always noticed his tailored suits, ties, and iconic glasses. Malcolm's no-nonsense style made even the most skeptical of colonizers notice his meticulous fashion. His fashion and sensibility should inspire Beauxs to disarm their oppressors with a weapon they'll never know they've been hit by style. Conservative suits, blazers, understated bow and neckties, and laser focus rimmed glasses are almost always helpful when it comes to delivering a call to action on a social issue.
With a seemingly infinite number of social issues being played out on the national stage, Beauxs should feel compelled to not only give their voices but their sense of style as well. Not only must we involve ourselves with movements whose ultimate goal is that of the greater good, we must use our sense of style to communicate our messages of hope and change. I look forward to running into each of you marching through our streets, at the next rally, monumental speech, town hall or board meeting, sit in, or demonstration and expect you to fashionably fight the power while making your stand in impeccable style.