May 2, 2013
Are sagging pants a new form of cultural identity for some young African American males? Are these young people so unreachable that they must drop their pants to attain a sense of belonging and become visible to their peers? Does it rally define the way and individual identifies or positions himself in a different cultural environment?
According to Judge Greg Mathis, sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited. Belts are sometimes prohibited to keep prisoners from using them as weapons or in committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip hop artists in the 1990s. It has since become a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society. Prior to the sagging pants, it was the shoestrings out of sneakers. All of this is born out of prison. He said ‘it’s all in the clothing’.
I believe young people have the ability to stop the sagging and create fashions that reflect their great culture and rich heritage. We have often been told that good leaders are made, not born and develop through a method of education, training, and understanding. And we must understand that different people require different styles of leadership.
In every edition of The American we see and hear of young African American achievers, both male and female. Also other publications and organizations focus on the many wonderful and progressive accomplishments and successes of young African Americans. I am not writing about them. I am confident that there are millions of young individuals doing far greater things for us as a people that we can imagine, but it’s the ones that are not that is the center of my attention.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not putting down the phenomenon we call hip-hop, but a lot of the trends and styles for young adults stem from this way of life. I read that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. What if some of the current grouping of rappers and popular singers would remember their roots, or were taught their history?
What if Snoop Dogg would begin writing about Marcus Garvey? What if Kanye West would teach about Malcolm X or Martin Delaney? Do you think Lil Wayne, Chris Brown or T.I. would sag if their lyrics were about Colin Powell, Thurgood Marshall or Jackie Robinson?
What if Bow Wow, 50 cent or Soulja Boy would dress in suits and in their performance would give a shout out to Dr. Martin Luther King, James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale or President Barack Obama?
What is the role of parents? They are the first teachers. What are they wearing? A common aspect of fashion in African American culture involves the appropriate dress for worship in the Black church. It is expected in most churches that an individual should present their best appearance for worship. Now you see parents attending church wearing slacks and loose shirts.
Parents should be role models and provide and insist on a dress code for themselves and not allow their children who live at home to wear sagging, revealing, low-slung pants, I will deal with the young ladies in a future column.
John P. Kotter of The Harvard School of Business said: "one of the most common ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about it beforehand. Communication of ideas helps people see the need for and the logic of a change. The education process can involve one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, or memos and reports.”
The Children will make the difference!
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Be Ever Wonderful!