Sunday, June 23, 2024

FUBU Founders Look Back On Homophobia and Black Only Controversies

FUBU founders - Photo: GETTY IMAGES
FUBU founders – Photo: GETTY IMAGES

*Back in the day, FUBU was among the who’s who of brands that made a noticeable way in a fashion world not ready to fully embrace hip-hop. Yet, despite a rough start, it emerged as a global force to be reckoned with.

During an appearance on “Drink Champs,” FUBU founders Daymond John, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown remembered that rough start, which included a time getting from under the shadow of homophobia.

“When we were coming up and we were doing clothing, hip-hop was very homophobic,” John said via Revolt. “And before us coming out — of course Karl Kani, Cross Colours — prior, the idea of a clothing designer was some flamboyant person in Europe. So, we were being almost harassed by some of our friends like, ‘Yo, [I] see y’all doing that clothing s**t. Yo, y’all alright?’ And so we came up by ourselves because nobody wanted to talk to us.”

Despite the silent treatment and harassment, a foundation was being built as FUBU’s critics could not deny the success that was coming from John and his crew, who charted a new path while growing up in New York.

“Imagine you out there, one of our boys is moving kilos, the DMX of Belly, and we up there talking ‘bout, ‘Yo, I’m about to go make this strawberry pattern, son. You gotta see this hoodie it’s gonna make.’ We came up realizing nobody wanted to mess with us for a while until they started to hear we were doing $350 [million] a year,” John said.

In addition to homophobia, racism was another issue that came with FUBU’s arrival Most notably from department stores that wouldn’t carry the brand in their stores, saying “we don’t people that look like that who steal clothes or get into shootouts.”

“They wouldn’t put us in there,” John recalled as he and his fellow FUBU founders clarified early misinformation folks had that their products were never made exclusively for Black people.

“For Us, By Us was more of a cultural thing… for the Hip Hop community, by the Hip Hop community,” Brown explained. “It was Black-owned but never Black only.”

While racism and homophobia continue to pollute society, the FUBU managed to persevere and thrive in the highly competitive fashion landscape, appealing to consumers of all ages with the with a quality brand.

Blavity noted highlights in FUBU’s history is its association with rap icon LL Cool J. The “Headsprung” MC sported FUBU while rapping in a 1997 commercial for Gap. The moment was undeniable, with Perrin summing it up to say, “He changed the game with that one.”

Fast forward to current times and FUBU is making a mark in fashion with young artists supporting the longstanding brand.

“You’ll see a lot of the young artists, they have a silent message,” John said (per Yahoo), while naming a pair of very notable FUBU supporters. “I know Drake supports it a lot. SZA supports it all the time. [Lil] Yachty. So, a lot of artists today are doing their LL Cool J.”

Looking towards the future, the FUBU founders are driven to stay on course with their goal to appeal to people of different ages and backgrounds.

“When it’s older, it’s people who know what it is, and they have a choice of anything and everything, and they chose that,” John said. “And the younger artists who are trying to do the subliminal. And then a lot of times, it’s the younger kids who are saying, ‘This is mine. I’m gonna reset this thing off because I’m creating an identity that you don’t know about.’ They’re very pro-conscious. We’ve always tried to appeal to those [people].”

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB.COM: FUBU-Shoe-Wearing Man with KKK Tat Questioned at Confederate Flag Rally (WATCH)

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