Over the past couple of weeks people have taken to twitter, facebook, tumblr and many other social media streams to voice their concern on what they have considered controversial issues that particularly affect black people. In a matter of days the use of social media has stopped an entire production line of JS Roundhouse Mid sneakers from Adidas, because of the shoes featured rubber orange chains and a cuff that strapped around the ankle. The situation was so serious, that before Adidas decided to snatch the shoe, Reverend Jesse Jackson commented on the issue.
As if that weren’t enough, this past Monday, the same social streams went crazy tweeting about the “ratchetness” that displayed on VH-1 with the premiere of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. Although the show didn’t get the boot for comments made by utterly disgusted viewers who wholeheartedly believe that the network, its creators and producers hate black women, the show is coming under fire for its negative portrayal of women.
Clearly there is a lack of positive black media and brand imagery, and although we’ve begun to “see” black woman as writers, executive producers and designers,we could likely agree that we aren’t pleased with their results. But are black people becoming too sensitive? Why couldn’t the JS Roundhouse sneakers designed by Jeremy Scott be just another one of his animated designs of a childhood memory, instead of a racist gesture designed by a white guy? If we found out that Jeremy Scott was black would our views change?
And what about Love and Hip Hop Atlanta? We call the show “ratchett” and a poor representation of what really goes down in the Jewel of the South, but tons of people not only watched it, but they tweeted about it, facebooked about it, vlogged about it and continue to have rapid conversation about it–which keeps the show relevant.
We will go on record and say we don’t like what we see on reality tv or images created by brands, however we show our support by watching and wearing the very thing we are against to stay in the know and remain relevant. Are black people too quick to pull the race card when something like a rubber ankle chain reminds them of a 200 year old human degradation? Or did an idea so innocent, in Jeremy’s mind, inadvertently hit a nerve that seems to never heal? Furthermore, beyond a tweet, facebook and vlog are blacks capable of changing what’s seemingly becoming our reality?