Philly-based record label Ropeadope is one of my favorites for so many reasons. Their artists are usually forward thinking. Their clothing lines are aesthetically pleasing to my eyes and comfortable to wear while supporting artists and causes I respect. Even their website has daily updates that have led me to some interesting other sites and sounds (google "Ideal Bites" for one example.) They have rarely led me astray so far. So when they announced that they were doing a commemorative line of shirts based on the Black Panthers emulating sports designs...well my interest was piqued.
Here is what Words, the master of all things apparel at Ropeadope, had drawn up about the new clothing line:
In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Ropeadope Industries, along with On Point Clothing is proud to present an exclusive collection entitled the Black Panther S’port Shirt Series. The line is the creation of New York City designer Alex Sumner, and was created under the tutelage of original members of the Black Panther Party, as well as nearly a dozen of the Panthers’ closest contemporary comrades and supporters. This collection is one man’s attempt to pay homage to the ground breaking movement that changed the face of American culture forever and shook our nation to its core.
"By super-imposing the images of heroes of the Black Power Movement upon the logos and jerseys of sports giants, the S’port Shirt collection states its profound case: we must not merely celebrate game players, we must celebrate change makers. In many of today’s big-ticket athletes, we see millionaires who will not sign an autograph for a child. The Black Panther Party fed the children. They clothed and educated the children. The Panthers provided the conditions of sound mind, body, and spirit to the youth. Today we witness sports franchises that displace and financially drain the communities in which they dwell. The BPP provided training, protection, and structure for the communities from which they sprang. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense did all of these things without regard for riches, accolades, or fame. Instead of giving the people of our communities the choice of which high-priced capitalist they wish to emblazon about their chests, Ropeadope and the Black Panther Party, bring to the community a jersey that represents you: a jersey you can be proud of.
"As we make this line available to the public, we also convey the fact that the work of the Black Panther Party is far from done. The U.S. prison industry still holds many Panthers behind bars for crimes that they either did not commit, or were grossly over-sentenced for. The time is now for each of us to do our part for those who have done their share for us: $5 from the sale of each shirt in this collection will go directly to the Safiyah Bukari-Albert Nuh Washington Foundation for the defense and liberation of these American icons still living an American nightmare.
"No matter what U.S. city you hail from, no matter your race or background; whether you are a sports junkie, or the concept of being a sports fanatic is lost on you; the Black Panther Party for Self Defense is your home team. The S’port Shirt is your home jersey.
All Power to the People!
Check out the different designs here