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A Conversation on "The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion"

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

“The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion” documentary is a film most never knew they needed, but it’s a timeline of stories Black people have always felt they were missing from the history books. Black people have been pioneers in numerous industries, but many people never get to know the ones in the fashion industry.

In fact, most people are unaware of half the contributions Black people made, and make, in fashion. “The Remix” offers front row seats to the stories of some of these iconic contributors such as Misa Hylton, April Walker, Dapper Dan, and more.

Through their stories they hit on issues such as cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation, women behind the scenes of Hip Hop, the double oppression these women faced, etc.

The film also takes you on the rollercoaster ride that is being Black in the fashion industry. You’ll get a high from the looks, the music, and the overall stories but the lows come with the stories of the disrespect they faced, the sacrifices they’ve made, and the downfalls.

In addition, the audience gets a glimpse at how society isn’t as far as some of us think. Many of the trials and issues mentioned in the film, Black people are currently enduring today.

“Black fashion is cool as long as it’s not on Black people,” said Kerby Jean-Raymond during the film.

Misa Hylton said, “We create culture but don’t participate in the longevity of it in terms of the business part.”

Any of this sound familiar?

But watching the film is worth the mixed emotions because it’s the stories that need to be told.

It’s the history that we may not have known about had it not been for our parents or the film. Sure, some of us were alive then, but not old enough to appreciate and fully understand what we were witnessing. And even now, we see things on social media but it’s only bits and pieces of these stories.

I appreciate the directors Farah X and Lisa Cortés, as well as their team, for giving us a look at our past through a different lens. They gave us a chance to fully enjoy and experience the intersection of Hip Hop and fashion during the 90s, but as adults.

And some of us pay homage to those pioneers without knowledge of who they are. That’s something I’m not OK with, so to change the narrative as much as I can I want to have conversations like the ones “The Remix” sparked.

I want to talk about the Black changemakers and pioneers – who they are, what they did, and how they did it.

A Conversation on “The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion” was my first attempt at doing so. On Wed. July 29 I put together a zoom call for the public to discuss the film and the themes around it. Fashion editor Lakeicia Shante, content creator Lamar Tucker, content creator Samaiyah Steward and professor/Black art curator Chenoia Bryant including fashion journalist Elena Romero, who was a part of the film, gave us their thoughts on the industry then and now.

From what labels and brand names represent in the community to how Black consumers can do their better, the conversation took on a life of its own. With so many different issues surfacing regarding how the world has been moving forward, we had a lot to unpack.

And unpack we did. The biggest take away is that we have to make a change in what we choose to give life to, and that there are more conversations like this one that need to be had. Points were made, voices were heard, and this is just the beginning.

The video below is a recording of our much-needed conversation. I encourage my readers to leave your comments about what you liked and disliked, and what you would like to see in our future conversations.


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