Thursday, August 21, 2008

Soap Box: Clothing Claustrophobia

"Get me, get me out of this box. I feel so claustrophobic in here..." -Solange Knowles God Given Name

What's up with people and labels??? Geez. If I hear one more person say that women are supposed to ___ and men are supposed to ___ I will scream. The same thing goes for race.

I had a conversation recently that disturbed me, yet it didn't surprise me.

I was told that I need to dress like a black man. I should not wear a small... I'm 5'8" 130 lbs. How small can you get????? I will go nowhere near a large. I'm supposed to wear baggy clothes to fit into the norm of most black guys my age. Or so I was told. This is to avoid scrutiny even if it makes me uncomfotable. WTF??? I'm sick of my blackness/manhood being in question. Yes, I talk funny. I dress more like the Jonas Brothers than Jay-Z. It's my choice. I was not built for Sean John. I will leave that to the other boys.

I love my skinny jeans. I will continue to wear them until I decide not to. Yes, I am a black man. But first and foremost, I am a thinking man. One who does not always go along with the flow of those around him. You can see that by my posts on here.

What the hell does dress like a black man mean anyway? Do you mean 50 Cent? Pharell Williams or Kanye West? André Leon Talley? Colin Powell? Wyclef Jean or Chris Brown? They ALL posess different styles so please be more specific.

I like my clothing to be more tailored and to ACTUALLY FIT ME! I wear a six 36 sport coat! So don't suggest a 40! I will look like I"m playing dress up in daddy's clothes. Jeez... I'm a grown man.

It's funny how we encourage young black men to pull their pants up and stop looking sloppy but when they wear clothes that fit they are accused of being gay or trying to be white. How you can do either of those by your clothes, I don't know.

Don't try to box me in. Thanks. Black men come in all different shapes, shades, and styles.

"There's this assumption that there's only one way of being black. That if you are not conforming to a certain pattern of behavior, that somehow you may not be authentic enough. And those of us in African-American culture know that there's as much diversity in the African-American community as there is in any other community."-Barack Obama :-]


Brant said...

When people are trying to force you back inside of society's "box", then you know you have succeeded in living your life outside of the box. Keep on being exceptional, not acceptable!!!

singer/songwriter/fly-guy said...

brant just read me with that last sentence.

Twaun said...

This type of attitude transcends issues of sexuality, fashion, and culture. Some african americans have sadly been sold on their own negative sterotypes and labels. Some of us collect children, drop out of school, and commit crimes to maintain some sort of street credibility.

People challenging you for your individual tastes are doing so defensively because in turn they are being forced to look inward and challenge their own miseducation.

I guess the above goes without saying, but I had to leave an actual concurring opinion to go along with my post. I'm in law school and I can't help myself. Bravo and great blog!