Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jordan: The Voice of a young nation

It is with caution and care that I write about the following topic as I am under great pressure to meticulously get all of the details correct. I hope I've made you proud...

If you ask people of a certain generation the birth of the Jordan sneaker franchise was more than just a new cool shoe available in the stores. From the moment of production the Jordan franchise became a staple in the culture of a diverse group of a young generation. Having a pair of newly released fresh "Js" on your feet became a symbol of status, and rebellion. You became a walking spokesperson for standing apart from the crowd and walking to the beat of your own drum. It became a part of the Saturday ritual to head out to your nearest sneaker store, get on line with the rest of your counterparts, and hope to God they didn't run out of the size you desperately needed by the time you reached the front of the line. That is and always will be the core of what the brand truly is about.

Unfortunately like many things in our nation, once society grasps on to the pure unadulterated quality  of what the product has to offer it becomes tainted and abused. The quality of what the Jordan brand was, has changed for all of us whether we are apart of the beginning, middle, or tail end of its newly found status. Capitalism is the foundation of what our country is built upon, and after years of slow transition the capitalistic nature of our nation has trickled its way down and intertwined itself into Jordan manufacturing, production, and advertisement. Jordan is no longer a staple of individualism or rebellion, but more so an acceptable symbol of popularity and status within social settings. Having those "Js" on your feet now means that you paid your 175+ dollars to fit in with your matching outfit, and it doesn't matter if you know the basis of where they came from.

Even the drive of the consumer has transformed from friendly competition to full outright business. We have people who aren't concerned with when or where the culture of the Jordan brand derived from, people who don't wear Jordans, and people who don't even know the magic Micheal Jordan created are all after them. Why… because money talks. It used to be people would hesitate to wear their Jordans on the block because they feared someone would steal them. That person would target you because they were unable to afford or obtain them themselves, and desperately wanted that particular pair. Now we have an increase in theft and death not only on the block, but right outside of the store because the after market re-sale value has greatly increased. It is no longer about the love of the sneaker and what it represents, it is now about the love of what it can earn you.

Money is now at the forefront, and the legend that made these sneakers more than just sneakers is often forgotten. So now with all of the news broadcasts looking for a finger to point and blame to pass, judgment is once again being placed upon the backwards thinking of consumer. The consumers that were just merely being born when this legacy was being built are apart of the problem. The corporations such as Nike that release a minimal supply though they know the demand is five times larger then what they release are also apart of the problem. The mom and pops stores that are struggling  that allow for inflated after market resale are another part of the problem. And even those who pay the inflated after market prices, which includes myself, are apart of the problem. With all of these problems where exactly can we begin to even search for a solution to the destruction of what was once a positive staple in the African American community.

It deeply saddens me to think that the new voice that Jordan has taken on will always be related to the profit and not the product. It will always be about matching that new fly outfit and how much of a flip you can make on flight club. There is so much history behind that symbolic jumpman, behind the color schemes and names that go along with each popular release. Jordan helped to build a prideful community that would share cleaning techniques, preservation ideas, and outlandish stories about avoiding damage. Where the Jordan brand once came from and where it is now are definitely not the same… but this is one instance where I hope the history of its does repeat itself.

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