Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Musings On The Times

The cycle of fashion and trends continues to turn. Every 25-30 years, fashion goes retro for renewal. I remember when I was in junior high and high school, the late 60's and 70's (an era I identify with) were "in". You had to have your bell bottoms and platform shoes. My senior class even had a sit-in protest. We clogged the hallway in front of the principal's office to protest paying for our yearbooks. We made it through 4 years of high school; the yearbook should be our free reward. We went to public school! Our protest wasn't effective enough however. We didn't have a senior trip that year but we had a prom. Thank god they didn't take away my right to get dressed up and dance barefoot.

Late 1990's to early 00's, we got deeper into the 1970's; natural hair made a serious comeback. Soul Trainesque afros were everywhere. Throwback parties were 70's parties. And now, the 80's are here. Old School parties are just assumed to be 80's parties. Tacky patterns are chic. Graffiti inspired designs are sought after. I went to a show last night at Webster Hall and it was like being in the Palladium in 1982. Big hair, animal print leggings and pumps were all over the place. Large framed glasses and Vans as well. Break dancing, beatboxing entertained while lyricists enlightened the crowd. Even some of the music the independent artists performed were throwbacks to 80's Pop. Hip-Hop is like a religion. Ok, before I start making biblical references (I wouldn't be very good at that anyway) I'll take a step back and say hip-hop is definitely a lifestyle, not just music. The sensitivity to this is most profound to me in the creative community. I noticed it last year upon the publication of the Be a Father to Your Child. As I immersed myself further into the spoken word world, I was moved and inspired by poems about the "hip-hop struggle". It's a late 70's early 80's mentality. Black pride abounds. I've never been addressed as 'Queen' so much in my life. I revere my Brothers. I have to admit that I don the red, green and gold a lot more and my coral beads to represent my Nigerian and Jamaican heritage.

We do seem to be living in different eras at the same time at this moment. In the arts, music and fashion we're in the 80's. Politically and socially, we're in the 60's - 70's (JFK  Obama, all the talk about Big Brother and "The Man"). Economically and militarily, we're in the late 30's - early 40's (Great Depression, World War II). I can only hope that the same way MTV revolutionized music and made names of independent artists, that we can have a new resurgence of true creative geniuses. The musicians at Webster Hall last night were amazing. I hope that there is no need for Black Pride to become militant once again. I definitely hope this recession doesn't lead to a World War. But as for fashion, what's next - high-top fades, colored denim, shoulder pads? 

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