For years Gucci has been one of the go-to high-end brands that many in the Hip-Hop community have found a taste for when it comes to their clothing selection. Taking a look at our contemporary stars and you can find the double G logo outfitted on Migos to Casanova and more. The recent reveal of a sweater that infuses the storied racist elements of Sambo and blackface into high fashion rattled the Hip-Hop culture and has drawn a line in the sand, which has split members of the community based upon their decision to support the brand. The backlash, while swift, has some examining whether the investment into the pricey pieces can be cast aside due to the inconsiderate, and to some blatant, design. One of those figures is not Atlanta legend T.I.
The self-proclaimed, widely acknowledged, King of the South called for a boycott of the brand in response to the Blackface sweater, but even he was met with criticism once it was read that his boycott was only stated to last for three months. Seemingly suggesting it was appropriate to put the brand back on around May, which received both support and side eyes. While T.I. suggested “I Don’t Give a Fuck if I gotta wear Target brand shit….” many were quick to point the threads wouldn’t make it to the summer for the Hustle gang leader.
On the other side of the spectrum is a longtime foe to T.I., Floyd Mayweather, who TMZ caught before and after a post-controversy shopping spree at Gucci, which he details the tab ranged between $200,000 and $300,000 and displayed a lack of care for both the boycott and the sweater that sparked the outrage.
“You said they’re gonna be upset with me? I love it, I love it, I love it. See, the thing is this, I live for myself. I do what I want to do,” Floyd shared.
“I’m not a follower.”
“You know when everybody else they say, ‘Everybody gonna boycott?’ I say guess what, this boy gonna get on a yacht and live life.”
T.I. took it back to wax and dissed Mayweather with “F**k N***a” a scathing attack on his response to TMZ.
“I don’t give a f*ck how much money you have/What did you do with it? How did you use it to make an impact and influence the wealth for the better?/You rather go buy jewelry, whatever.”
Not one to bow out, Mayweather posted a detailed response questioning the intentions of celebrities who are initiating boycotts, however, included other controversial topics ranging from R. Kelly to the NFL.
“In light of the most current boycott and digital outrage, I wanted to take the time to address a couple of issues that I myself have trouble wrapping my mind around,” Mayweather wrote. “For instance, why would we (as a people) agree to a temporary boycott of Gucci for merely 3 months if what was done caused so much strife?”
Insert, chronic Hip-Hop jokester 50 Cent, who takes another jab at Mayweather as he is known to do, captioning his Instagram: “champ must have heard that TI song he big time mad. LOL” before closing it out with his traditional brand endorsements.
For those keeping track, we have gone from a temporary three-month boycott to $300,ooo shopping sprees to three-minute diss tracks to 50 Cent inserting his three cents. What has been accomplished? All sides are sticking firm to their beliefs, but what is their war of words doing for the actual cause at this point? The now rift between Mayweather and T.I. is a distraction from the original issue. In efforts to make a change going forward when African-Americans are attacked, Hip-Hop and society as a whole must begin to learn how to function in cohesion toward change. Those efforts do not begin with one man’s call to action, nor resistance to doing so.
An example of how to properly move toward change is exhibited by Dapper Dan, a recent Gucci collaborator and one of the most respected minds in fashion. Sparking on Instagram, Dan detailed that he has orchestrated a much-needed sit down between the CEO of Gucci, along with community and industry leaders to enforce accountability.
There is not a debate that Hip-Hop has had the most dominant voice in Hip-Hop since its birth, many movements and messages have been made clear, thus the call for a united front toward making sure our people are represented accurately and on one accord, sans acknowledging external factors that can provide a detour from appropriate action.
The Blackface incident form Gucci is not the first nor last time this will face our people. Previously, H&M ran the “coolest monkey in the jungle” campaign and Virginia has been revealed to be plagued by politicians who thought Blackface would be fine if it replicated Black figures like Kurtis Blow. Not a week after Gucci was blasted publicly, a couple of shoes from Katy Perry’s fashion line displayed similar questionable designs. Whether neglect, a purposeful attention grab or any other reason, these incidents will continue to happen unless the reaction is structured and orchestrated as a unit.
It is time for Hip-Hop and its supporting people to seriously understand what the community needs to do to foster a positive change for African-Americans, while