“Fresh Dressed”: 10 Reasons You Should Watch This Stylish Hip-Hop Fashion Doc

freshdoc

Scene from Fresh Dressed. (SUNDANCE.ORG)

After flipping through the September fall fashion issues of my favorite magazines with black “It Girls” such as BeyoncéKerry WashingtonSerena and Misty Copeland on their covers, I’m unusually interested in clothes. All that paging through magazines got me wondering: Where are all the black-owned fashion brands? Yes, of course well-known black brands still exist. Tracy Reese and Byron Lars are two of my favorites.

Digging into the rabbit hole of black designers led me to Fresh Dressed, a fascinating documentary from 2014 directed by Sacha Jenkins about the foundations of urban fashion that features some of the biggest names in fashion (Dapper Dan, Andre Leon Talley) and hip-hop (Kanye West, Nas). And it conveniently airs on Vimeo on Demand. One late-night click on my PayPal account and I was immersed in the world of pre-gentrified New York and hip-hop’s early years, which started the urban fashion apparel market. Sweet!  Check out the trailer below:

Ready to take a walk down memory lane or learn the secret to how the brands so many of us wore in the ‘90s became hot (then not)? Check out Fresh Dressed. Here are 10 reasons the doc is worthwhile:

1. Unique fashion inspirations.

Customized leather jackets underneath denim vests—a fashion staple that was worn by street gang members who wanted to identify their affiliation—were inspired by 1969’s Easy Rider, a film about two bikers.

2. Jamel Shabazz photographs.

Brooklyn-born Shabazz spent the ‘80s taking iconic pictures of black street style and capturing the culture. His driving force? “[Black style] is interpreted around the world as just being fly,” Shabazz says in the documentary. “What I see is pride and dignity. I wanted the world to see [us] as something unlike they had seen before. That despite people’s condition, they were able to maintain a great deal of integrity and it is shown in the way people dress and the pride they take in having clean sneakers on.”

3. Random hip-hop fun facts. 

Before Play of the rap duo Kid ‘n Play was a rapper, he was a graffiti artist who used denim jackets as his canvas. “People would pay me to paint their names on their jeans,” says Christopher “Play” Reid.

4. Dapper Dan was more popular than Louis Vuitton (among black people).

The (in)famous Harlem designer and boutique owner was best known for merging hip-hop fashion sensibilities with the logos of European fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Think tricking out the upholstery of Big Daddy Kane’s car with a red and black Gucci monogram print or maybe a red leather Gucci sweatsuit for Bobby Brown. “I blacken-ized [luxury] fashion” Dan boasts in Fresh Dressed. “I made it so it would look good on us.”

Nas, a producer of the documentary, takes the boasting a step further:

“Dapper Dan was Tom Ford before Tom Ford,” says the rapper. “He had the foresight to do what they [luxury brands] started doing five years, 10 years after him.”

5. The genesis of fat laces in sneakers.

Before wide laces were sold ready-made in stores, sneaker aficionados had to create their own by taking the laces out of the shoe, stretching them, starching them and then ironing them.

6. Mayor’s closet. 

I’m not so into sneakers, but even I gasped looking at the walk-in closet of sneaker aficionado Mayor, who boasts of going 7.5 years without wearing the same pair of shoes twice. (That’s 2,737 pairs). He keeps his collection, which includes a significant number of Jordans, in a row of plastic containers that are as tall he is and estimates his collection is worth more than half a million dollars.

7. Rediscovering the Lo-Lifes. 

This was a well-known “gang” in Brooklyn, N.Y., that didn’t identify itself by colors but by fashion logos, one in particular: Polo. Its criminal activity was mainly shoplifting Ralph Lauren clothing from department stores, and status in the group was determined by who wore the most exclusive wares best. For some, such as Lo-Life leader Thirstin Howl the 3rd (yes, like the millionaire from Gilligan’s Island), fashion is really that serious.

8. Learning how Tommy Hilfiger became so popular among black people. 

Instead of offering endorsement deals to famous rappers, Hilfiger offered free clothes to the MCs—and in the neighborhoods where they came from. “Tommy Hilfiger would show up in the ‘hood and open up a trunk with clothes,” recalls Ralph McDaniels, who hosted the popular hip-hop TV show Video Music Box. “It was the drug dealer giving you a free hit. It was smart. He knew exactly what he was doing.”

9. That time GAP unwittingly spent $30 million on a FUBU commercial.

LL Cool J signed on to do a GAP commercial, but didn’t really believe the brand respected hip-hop culture, according to FUBU executive Daymond John. The rapper insisted on wearing a FUBU baseball cap in the commercial and even dropped a line that included FUBUs tagline, “For Us By Us.” “It basically became a FUBU commercial,” adds John. FUBU eventually became a $350 million business.

10. Learning that Tupac didn’t charge black people. 

At the height of his fame, Tupac took a meeting with Karl Kani in which Kani pitched him to star in an upcoming ad campaign. “I ain’t gonna charge you; you black,” Pac told Kani. “I don’t charge my people for nothing.” Two weeks later, they did a photoshoot … free. Kani credits Pac with introducing him to a global market.

article by Demetria Lucas D’oyley  via theroot.com

New Orleans Celebrates its Recovery 10 years After Hurricane Katrina

People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it's 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it’s 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With prayers, church bells and brass bands, residents across Mississippi and Louisiana will pay homage Saturday to those who died in Hurricane Katrina, thank those who came to rebuild and celebrate how far the region has come from that devastating day.

Ten years ago — on Aug. 29, 2005 — Katrina made landfall in what turned into one of the deadliest storms in American history. The hurricane‘s force and flooding ultimately caused more than 1,800 deaths and roughly $151 billion in damages across the region.

In New Orleans, wide scale failures of the levee system protecting the city left 80 percent of New Orleans under water.

In Mississippi, churches will ring their bells to remember when the storm made landfall. In Biloxi, clergy and community leaders were to gather at MGM Park for a memorial to Katrina’s victims. In the evening, the park will host a concert celebrating the recovery.

Katrina’s force caused a massive storm surge that scoured the Mississippi coast, pushed boats far inland and wiped houses off the map, leaving only concrete front steps to nowhere.

The city has framed the 10th anniversary as a showcase to demonstrate to the world how far New Orleans has come back. In the last week, the city has held lectures, given tours of the levee improvements and released a resiliency plan.

People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of Hurricane Katrina. The 10th anniversary of the storm is August 29. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Many parts of this iconic city have rebounded phenomenally but many residents — particularly in the city’s black community — still struggle. Glitzy casinos and condominium towers have been rebuilt, but overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to the slow recovery in some areas.

In New Orleans officials will lay wreaths at the hurricane memorial and at the levee that ruptured in the Lower 9th Ward.

The neighborhood was one of the bastions of black homeownership in America when water burst through floodwalls, pushing houses off foundations and trapping residents on rooftops. The neighborhood still has some of the lowest rates of people who’ve returned after the storm, but it will be having a daylong celebration to mark the progress made.

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a free concert-prayer service-celebration Saturday evening at the city’s Smoothie King Center.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Street Sandra Bland Stopped On Renamed in Her Honor

Prairie View City Council members in Texas are hoping a road renamed after activist Sandra Bland will serve as a constant reminder of the injustices they say she suffered in Waller County, USA Today reports.

City officials are also hopeful that the road, which leads to Bland’s alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, will also encourage law enforcement to make better choices and always follow best practices when making stops on University Drive, which will become Sandra Bland Parkway for three to five years before the council votes on the matter again.

“I am overwhelmed, and I am just truly thankful to the city of Prairie View,” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland’s mother, said in a press conference here after the decision to rename the road.

“This is the first step, the very first step,” Reed-Veal said. “There’s still so much more that needs to be done.”

Bland, 28, was stopped on the same road July 10 for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. When Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia felt his power threatened by Bland’s wit and matter-of-fact tone, he arrested her on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

She was found hanging in her jail cell three days after her arrest, a death that has been ruled a suicide but is also being treated like a murder investigation. According to CNN, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Sandra’s death.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

Mathis said the case would go to a grand jury.

“There are too many questions that still need to be resolved. Ms. Bland’s family does make valid points that she did have a lot of things going on in her life that were good,” Mathis said.

Earlier this month, family members filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against arresting officer Encinia and two guards at the Waller County Jail where Bland died, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the county. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit states Encinia made up a reason to arrest Sandra and that jailers failed to react when she refused meals and “had bouts of uncontrollable crying.”

Bland’s family maintains that she never should have been stopped and arrested and they want the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

article via blackamericaweb.com

R.I.P. Frank E. Petersen, 83, 1st Black Pilot and General in the U.S. Marines Corps

Frank Petersen (photo via nytimes.com)

Frank Petersen (photo via nytimes.com)

General Frank Petersen, the U.S. Marines’ first Black pilot and general, has died at age 83.

Hoping to escape pervasive racism in his Kansas hometown, General Frank Petersen joined the U.S. Navy in 1950 as a seaman apprentice, reports The Boston Globe.

The following year, motivated by the death of the Navy’s first Black aviator Jesse Brown in the Korean War, Petersen entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, the report says. From there, he went on to make history himself, earning a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in Vietnam “when he was ejected after his plane was struck by anti-aircraft fire over the demilitarized zone” in 1968.

He died Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The cause was complications from lung cancer, according to The Globe:

President Harry S. Truman had ordered the armed forces to desegregate in 1948, but General Petersen later wrote that the Navy and Marine Corps were ‘‘the last to even entertain the idea of integrating their forces.’’ And whenever he left the flight training base in Pensacola, Fla., he was subjected to the indignities of the Jim Crow South.

Bus drivers ordered him to the back of the coach, and he was barred from sitting with white cadets in restaurants and movie theaters. He largely swallowed the treatment, he later told The Washington Post, because he could not fight two battles at once. ‘‘I knew that I couldn’t win if I were to tackle that, as opposed to getting my wings,’’ he said.

One instructor tried to minimize his performance in the air — giving him lackluster ratings — but he said white peers came to his defense. Upon completion of his flight training, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He flew 64 combat missions in Korea in 1953 and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other decorations.

Besides his wife, Alicia Downes, of Stevensville, Maryland and Washington, he leaves behind four children from his first marriage, a brother, a sister, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Rest in peace and thank you, Gen. Petersen.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

 

Spike Lee to Receive Governors Award from Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Spike Lee (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

Spike Lee (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

Spike Lee, Gena Rowlands and Debbie Reynolds will be honored Nov. 14 at the seventh annual Governors Awards.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted the awards at their Aug. 25 meeting. Following tradition, AMPAS representatives withheld the announcement until they could notify the recipients.

In 2009, the Academy broke out the Governors Awards into a separate, untelevised ceremony; the Oscarcast time constraints limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to each. So the separate ceremony was an experiment, but an immediate success. There was no pressure to select ratings-friendly individuals, and the board has often gone for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public.

The Academy can salute up to six people each year: four honorary Oscars, and one apiece for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Thalberg Award, which goes to a film producer for their body of work. It’s generally been four honorees, except for 2011, when there were three.

Lee and Rowlands will receive the annual honorary Oscars and Reynolds will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Continue reading

John Ridley Options Atlanta Child Murders Memoir “No Place Safe” for ABC Studios

John Ridley ABC Deal

John Ridley (SUZI PRATT/FILMMAGIC)

John Ridley is making the most of his producing deal with ABC.

The Oscar-winning producer has optioned Kim Reid’s “No Place Safe: A Family Memoir” for ABC Signature Studios, along with Michael McDonald.

Ridley has also lined up a top-secret Marvel project as well as the second season of the Emmy-nominated “American Crime.” He also recently sold a new detective drama pilot, “Presence,” to the Alphabet.

Ridley and McDonald will produce the limited series via their companies International Famous Players Radio Picture Corporation and Stearns Castle, respectively.

Part mystery thriller, part coming-of-age story and part civil-rights history, “No Place Safe” is a memoir set in 1979 at the time of the Atlanta child murders and told through the eyes of a young African-American teenager. Reid’s mother, an investigator in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office who was on the task force searching for the serial killer, told her in detail about the quest for the murderer of 29 victims, mostly young black boys.

Ridley signed an overall deal with ABC in 2014.

article by Debra Birnbaum via variety.com

Natalie E. Hudson Named Associate Justice to Minnesota Supreme Court

Judge Natalie Hudson (photo via insight news.com)

Judge Natalie Hudson (photo via insight news.com)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of the Honorable Natalie Hudson as associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Hudson will replace Associate Justice Alan Page, who will be retiring at the end of August.

“Judge Natalie Hudson has served our state admirably as a member of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and as assistant attorney general,” said Dayton. “During her distinguished 13-year tenure on the Court of Appeals, Judge Hudson has authored more than 1,100 written opinions, demonstrating clearly her unique aptitude for ruling on some of the most challenging legal issues facing our state today.”

Dayton said Hudson was the perfect person to replace Page on the bench.  “Judge Hudson will be an outstanding new member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. I have great confidence that she will bring a valuable perspective to the court, and continue the high standards of excellence, hard work, and fair-mindedness that Justice Page has embodied these last two decades,” said Dayton.

Hudson is the second African-American woman named to the Minnesota Supreme Court, following Wilhelmina Wright, whom Dayton appointed in 2012.

Dayton is also preparing to name Wright’s successor, because President Obama has nominated her to serve on the U.S. District Court for Minnesota. Wright will leave the Minnesota Supreme Court once she’s confirmed by the Senate.
2015 08 18 supreme court appointment“I am honored and humbled that the Governor has selected me to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Hudson. “I am excited about the opportunity, and it is indeed a privilege to continue to serve the people of Minnesota in this capacity.”

Hudson has served as an at-large judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since her appointment by Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, Hudson served as an assistant attorney general for Minnesota in the Criminal Appeals and Health Licensing divisions.

Hudson earned her B.A. from Arizona State University and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she also served as the editor-in-chief for the school’s newspaper.

After completing law school, Hudson was an attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. and Robins, Zelle, Larson & Kaplan. She then spent three years as the assistant dean of Student Affairs at Hamline University School of Law, and was later appointed as the city attorney for St. Paul.

article via insightnews.com; additions from mprnews.org

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