You probably read the title and thought to yourself WTF! But it’s probably because you are fairly young, or are not in tuned to social movements or atleast that of black American’s. From Kwame Nkrumah to Lumumba to Malcom X to even some cases the latter years of Marcus Garvey, one can say most of our memorized iconic black activists were all influenced by one powerful Jamaican man that actually changed the whole of America to a successful economic pot for blacks in the USA, his name was Marcus Garvey. And his movement was heavily characterized by the Red, black and green colors boldly representing black pride usually on flags.
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Due to the racial tension in the 90s the red black and green was mainly represented deep in the black activist movements but subliminally represented in Hip Hop, Like Tribe Called Quest Album Covers…
Or like Wyclefs wrist band in ‘take me as I am’
However, it wasn’t Until somewhere in the year 2000, a politically charged hip hop group in USA dropped a classic rap album that shocked the world as hadn’t been done since Public Enemy. The album was titled ‘Let’s Get Free’. Following this point the duo coined the phrase RBG, which stood for both ‘Revolutionary But Gangsta’, and also Red Black and Green and they were heavily involved in a political organisation called the UHURU Movement.
Incase the name of the group doesn’t ring a bell, the video/song below should….
In the video, those who were fully aware of the political movement will easily identify the red, black and green posted all across the video. The fact they were on a major distribution deal and had the backing of the movement they popularity of the duo grew to unimaginable lengths reaching young people like the black activist movement had never in that time. And what carried it and made it easily represented was the fashionable colors, Red, Black and green, especially at the height of Goerge Bushes wars and Obama’s police killings and war in Libya, the movement was growing and the colors were becoming a tremendous fashion representation.
It was shortly after this trend was at it’s peak, then it was seen on celebrities, and these celebrities definitely we not pushing Marcus Garvey’s agenda. The confusion was mind boggling as to why some were enduldged in the red black and green until it became very well known they were endorsing GUCCI poducts.
Now yes, GUCCI did have such product dating back to the 1950s, however it coin the red and green on only a few items and it was ‘red and green’ seen on various other colors. By grabbing hold of that and placing it on black products, GUCCI couldn’t have picked a better time to disrupt the red black and green fashion scene that had picked so much traction over Dead Prez’s RBG movement.
Literally, the grass roots work for popularization was done, all GUCCI had to do was get the celebrities and ensure it is not only red and green they are selling, but red black and green. The company pushed it so prominently like it had never done before to the point where African American activist still hold the colors high not but do not wear it so much as a fashion statement.
GUCCI has now seen a strong market in the African continent and there is no doubt they sponsor clothes to Davido and Wizkid via brand marketing. This is when companies give out products to individuals with a following or popularity to encourage their following to endorse the said products. It is a useful strategy for brands that don’t feel advertising to that audience will be good for their reputation yet will still like to extract money from the said target audience. Something found very common in hip hop, hence the brand name dropping on tracks.
So now that we shared with you this crazy back story regarding the red black and green, does WizKids militant look by GUCCI imply anything? Although it might just be nothing but gucci style to fashionista’s it could definitely trigger another images to the African American activist movement. Because if Sunglasses, a beret, red black and green whilst singing about how your people suffer doesn’t scream black power, then what else does?
See Wizkid below