As I stand in front of a pair of $400 jeans at Neiman's wondering why the hell someone would pay so much for an obviously overpriced yet very stylish pair of pants, my phone rings. It's my bro Karim asking me what I'm doing. Whew, saved by the bell. I free myself from the trance brought on by images of trendy fashion ads, label-dropping lyrics, and my own wanting of "stuff". I dismiss my usual impulses with the notion of, "I'll catch it on sale" or, "they weren't that hot anyway". All lies, but whatever gets me past it right?
Such routine acts of shopping like purchasing marked up clothing, has a deeper meaning than just doing it to impress or 'just cause'. It means that we have power. 'We' as in black people, and power as in marketing power. The kind that only money can buy.
Way before Russell Simmons brokered a million dollar sneaker deal with Adidas for Def Jam and Run DMC, we as a people have been literally giving our talents away. Far too cheaply or for free in some cases. That was a Momentus point in hip hop and we've since improved our bargaining skills gaining leverage in the world's markets.
Just as Russell realized that they had something bigger than just rhyming and dressing fly. They had an opportunity to partner with someone on a broader scale in order create a bigger and deafer revenue stream. They had a pretty big 'market share' in the hip hop world far as influence and clout. So why should they give free promotion to a brand that benefits from their audience and they receive little to nothing in return? This is America, and capitalism is one of its bench marks.
Having such a significant influence on society equals control in the 21st century. I've noticed more and more how the hip hop generation has permeated and meshed with the mainstream. From media to music, politics to fashion. There's nothing hip hop hasn't found its way into. TV is flooded with rapping cartoon characters. Cities all around the world have graffiti street art on walls and buildings as a way to improve the look of their neighborhoods. Graffiti being viewed as acceptable by the mainstream is amazing in itself, let alone being viewed as art. Not that long ago people were arrested or even killed for tagging.
Money, power, respect.