Fashion, Culture, and Identity in Young Black America

Social America

We are what we wear black people. The saggy jeans, the multifaceted hairstyle, the plaid, maxi skirts, and dresses or the long Pentecostal robs establishes our identity over and over. There is a reason why we wear what we wear. One reason could be that we feel more comfortable wearing saggy jeans then wearing our pants according to expectation. Our way definitely gets immediate attention wherever we are.

I was comfortable in my black pants, shoes, and jacket for many years. These clothing made me fill important for some odd reason. Sometimes we may not know why we prefer one color or clothing design over the other. But as long as it helps to define who we desire to be, it really doesn’t matter.

Revealing Personality

The way we wear pants or shirt reveal our character and tells others about our personalities as well as what we value. For example, when you see young black teens wearing saggy pants, this tells people that we value the hip hop generation.  Or if you see young black women dressed like Nicki Minaj, such appearance tells me that the individual idols Nicki Minaj: the popular rap star.

black fashion

Revealing Black Culture

To dress in the hip hop style as a young black American is a way of keeping up the trend established by hip hop song artist and their values expressed in song and dance. Some of these values may be view as negative and some as positive.  Clothing that expresses the negative (saggy pants) or the positive (designer jeans) are readily available. Saggy jeans or pants have always been viewed as a sign of rebellion against the expectations of society in terms of proper dress.

Cultural Conflict

Our clothing says more than we realize. Many older black Americans frown upon this type of expression and believe that it does more hurt than harm to the image of young black men.  This may be true when it comes to getting hired for a job or any other situation that require professionalism, but that is another story.

Our Identity

We can all agree that fashion is universal. Our clothing has always been a vehicle for expressing our culture, whether in America or in Africa.  Sikaa and Dashikis, skits and dresses made of multifaceted fabrics speak loud and clear for the African culture.

Fashion stays in alignment with trends. Trends come and go. Someday the saggy pants will be a thing of the past and a new way of expressing our blackness will emerge. Until then, the present identity of our black young generation will linger proudly.

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