Wednesday, June 25, 2008
When we look at style(not so much fashion) and trendstting, we are usually looking at many of todays musicians, actors and actresses. When we disect the subject even more, we see African Americans for decades have been the leaders and pace makers for every time period. Now don't get me wrong, style is not a color or race, it's a feeling. Either you have it or you don't. However, the black race does carry a certain swagger, a certain way of expressing themselves. Ovver the years we've given it so many different names, but for the sake of universal appeal, we shall call it soul!!! The black man has soul. I maybe down to my last dime, the rent is due, but yet, I'm still going to feel and look like a million bucks(now a days thats just known as hood rich!!!). Never the less we can talk about the Pharrells, the diddys, the kanyes, the Milt-Fresh's(what you think I wasn't gonna say me!!??), but we have to remember where it all originated from. We can talk about bling(so tired of that phrase), but nobody came through with more bling like Sammy Davis, Jr. I was watchin a celebrity roast of Dean Martin, and they had homey Sam Davis up there with about four gold bracelets on both wrists, gold wrings on each finger, and two gold chains with madallions, while suited up. When you look at most of Sammy's suits he had exquisit tailoring done on them. Kind of like what they are trying to do with bespoke tailoring of todays time. And it looked well on him especially because he was a slim and trim man. I mean even further, who do you know that could be amongst the hipest group of whitemen. If your in Frank Sinatra's Rat pack, thats an honor. The only Black Guy in the group. Specially around the time when Affirmitive Action ain't mean nothin!!! He lived the life of a high roller, he gambled hard, had the women, everything. What I loved most about Sam was he knew how to wear a Tux. Last year when I was on my tuxedo Chic look, Sam was my inspiration for that. When you think of the tux, the bow-tie, the suit, the paten leather shoes, you think of formal which trandsends to being stuffy and stiff. But with, Sammy you see him having fun in a tux. laughing and jokin, bein more relaxed, thats where the soul comes in. even today, you see that with the likes of Diddy. Then we move to the Stylings of Cab Calloway who is the man who brought flashy dressing to the forefront. One of my may favorite Style Icons of anytime period, Mr.Calloway is more recognized for spawning the Zoot Suit, I can remember my grandfather talk about how he wore Zoot Suits back in the early 1900's with the huge watch chain with the large wide brim hat and the Stacys on the feet. All thnks to this man. I read some where, Calloway started wearing them when he did a show in Cuba (before all that wild junk with down with the u.s. and cuba), and he saw these suits in a shop, and thought they would be great to wear in his shows. He liked them so much, until he wore them all the time. The Zoot Suit style never really went away. It's been done over so many times it ain't even funny. Take it to the 50's when the mexicans were rockin em durin the zoot suit riots when they went tooth and nail with the sailors. Then lets not even get started on the 70's!!! My last subject would have to be The Great Jack Johnson. My grandfather would spend nights also talkin about Jackson as a great boxer. But there was much more to him than just boxing. He was a true tastemaker in his own right. He lived the fast life, he dressed well, drove fast cars of the times and the BIG ONE, HE DATED WHITE WOMEN!!!!We talk about black men dating them now like its a big deal, but he was dating them when it was a punishable offense to evven look one in the face. That takes BALlS AND NERVE!!! I mean, people don't talk bout it like that, but watch the movie GREAT WHITE HOPE. You'll see his sartorial tate go to work. I could be here all day talkin about black style, but to me these gentlemen represent what the times are trying to imulate. These guys were pushing the envolope around the times of bondage for black people. The Grown and Sexy movement was a nod to the black man of old who was sharp, clean and put together. But, we take it for granted.