Kicks Crazed … or Capitalism?

A few days before Christmas 2011, Nike re-released the Concord Jordans to wild fanfare. As a rash of people lined up to scoop a pair or two, if they were lucky, the media swooped in to spin narratives of Black consumerism, irresponsibility and violence. In this piece on I talk about why myths like the Tyreek Amir Jacobs death emerged and why if we’re talking just about the shoes, we’re missing the big picture

Like many young brothers growing up in the 1990s, I had a serious love affair with Jordans. I can recall getting my first pair (the IV’s for my sneaker heads) and wearing them sparingly, jumping over every puddle, and feeling like MJ himself when I stepped on the court with them (too bad my skills were more like Sam Bowie’s). My adolescent fascination with sneakers was at first looked upon strangely by my family and then frowned upon as news reports of young people being robbed or worse for the big-ticket shoes began to circulate. Since the 1980s there has been concern about violence, the high price of Jordans, and Black youth (and now adult) obsession with the shoes. While the sneaker madness may seem like an area for special concern, in reality, it’s hardly a unique expression of the all-too-familiar American consumerism. Read More

Filed under: Black Men, Class, Economics, Food for Thought, Hip-Hop, Sports, Youth

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