Hoodie History 101: Bun B Speaks On The Death Of Trayvon Martin
When Rocks Off researched our hoodie history, we found its roots and its perceptions to be as complex and racially charged as the death of Trayvon Martin. The hoodie, of course, has become the visual rallying cry for Martin's supporters on Twitter and Facebook profile pages nationwide.
Photos via Bun B on Twitter Bun B and Trae tha Truth (center) at a local rally for Trayvon Martin
While the hoodie may forever be redefined in the U.S. after the events in Sanford, Fla., last month, negative belief systems about hoodies and hip-hop are no doubt prevalent beyond our borders.
In a May 12, 2005 article in British newspaper The Guardian about a shopping center in the United Kingdom that chose to ban hoodies, Angela McRobbie, a professor of communications at Goldsmiths College, was quoted as saying:
"The point of origin is obviously black American hip-hop culture, now thoroughly mainstream and a key part of the global economy. Rap culture celebrates defiance, as it narrates the experience of social exclusion.
Musically and stylistically, it projects menace and danger as well as anger and rage. The hooded top is one in a long line of garments chosen by young people, usually boys, to which are ascribed meanings suggesting that they are 'up to no good.'"
Simplify McRobbie's quotes to common-speak and you've probably transcribed what many assume to be of George Zimmerman's inner dialogue the day he shot Martin. Indeed, McRobbie has a right to her own opinion and professional analysis, which are all very debatable, but she's definitely wrong about the point of origin.
And it wasn't until the '70s when hip-hop was born in the Bronx and began to influence fashion that hoodies started to become more popular. It all took off from there, but one could argue Rocky's sprint up the 72 stone steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art popularized the hoodie as much as hip-hop.
Regardless of how you feel, the garment really belongs to more than just hip-hop. As many point out, the hoodie is affiliated with academic spirit.
The image of Trayvon Martin that inspired the hoodie photo phenomenon.
Designers Tommy Hilfiger, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren used hoodies as important parts of their fashion collections in the '90s. So the debate over the hoodie's origins and those responsible for its popularity are really a jump ball.
However, one consistency in parts of the world where hoodie debate has occured is that the garment has faced an uphill battle. All over the planet from New Zealand, to the UK to the U.S., hoodies have divided people and conquered political dialogue long before the death of Trayvon Martin.
"Hoodie is something we see all over America and all over the world," said Houston music icon and hip-hop legend Bun B in an MTV hip-hop tribute to the death of Trayvon Martin. "But people are starting to identify this culture of people by their clothing and are starting to attribute certain things based on the way they dress and that's simply not fair."
Rocks Off interviewed Bun B, who has been a center figure at local rallies for Trayvon Martin, and he expressed his opinions to us on Geraldo Rivera, justice versus revenge, and hip-hop's responsibility in the Trayvon Martin controversy.