Once again, ghetto style is cool everywhere besides the ghetto. Designer Jean Ratatouille apparently had a grand old idea to name one of his “looks”, in his APC clothing line, after the Jay-z and Kanye West song entitled, “Niggas in Paris”. He actually changed it a little, adding “Last Niggas in Paris”. (Please note that I did not replace any letters in the word “nigga” with any asterisks because I am black, I do not need permission, or a pass, to say/write the word “nigga”in its entirety.)
Look, I am not a fashion blogger. I dabbled in it in my younger days, but I do not care for keeping up with trends. Which is why I hold on to my old Iphones as long as possible. Furthermore, this post is not meant to highlight how cool Timberland’s and Peacoat’s are in a winter/fall collection, this post is about how increasingly popular it is to adopt “ghetto” style, if you have no correlation, interest, connection, in or to the ghetto. The Designer, Jean Tortellini explains it all away by saying:
“I call this one look Last Niggas in Paris. Why? Because it’s the sweet spot when the hood – the ’hood — meets Bertolucci’s movie Last Tango in Paris. So that’s Niggas in Paris and Last Niggas in Paris.” After an awkward pause and a few hesitant laughs he added: “Oh, I am glad some people laughed with me. Yes, I mean, it’s nice to play with the strong signifiers. The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier. In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain. Not at the same time – never; it’s bad taste. So we designed Timberlands with Timberland …” (Via Kontrolmag.com).
I do not even know where to begin with this one. Should we discuss the fact that if there were actually black people up there, he would most likely NOT be holding up that sign. Should we also discuss the fact that this man, who has NO IDEA what a “ghetto” is, yet, decides to profit from “ghetto style”, defining it in a derogatory way just because someone from the “ghetto” gave him an OKAY? This street style he is trying to capture, originates from the ghetto. You will not walk around suburbia and tra-la-la into a whole foods, and see a Caucasian man picking up garbanzo beans in Timbs and a Peacoat. This is a prime example of the cultural identity of the black community being taken, re-worked, re-named into “Fashion”. Not only that, but it closely shares the name of a rap song, by two black men, plastered on a white board, held up in front of young white men standing on a platform in street wear that’s typically found on young black men. And we all know how most of America views young black men in/from the ghetto.
I get it, people enjoy black culture when it’s profitable/fun, but not when it terrifies them. It’s not “trendy” or “fashionable” when it’s ours, but when it’s THEIRS, it’s not an issue. This popular fashion designer has a platform, an audience. To choose to use such a shameful word to describe a “hood style” with white male models, is so tasteless. Cultural Appropriation is so rampant, that some black people think it is a form of “flattery”. What I see, is that these white people have zero culture of their own. They see something they don’t understand, denounce it, then eventually adopt it, then claim “why can’t we all share?” (which is HILARIOUS considering the history of America). “Grills and Du-Rags? Oh, that black man is a thug… but what if WE wore it? NOW IT”S FASHION!” Well, I am not here for that. Additionally, it’s done in a way that hints at mockery instead of appreciation and admiration. Let’s take a look:
You don’t see me walking around in a Kimono, or in a native headdress. For one, it’s blatantly disrespectful. Also, I don’t need to be apart of that. It is not my culture. I have enough of my own to be satisfied with. With the history of race relations between white people and black people, it makes sense why things are being “taken” from us when it’s appropriate for them.
“On Thursday, Touitou issued an apology, saying: “When describing our brand’s latest collaboration, I spoke recklessly, using terms that were both ignorant and offensive. I apologise and am deeply regretful for my poor choice of words, which are in no way a reflection of my personal views.” -The Guardian