Fashion, Feminization, Or Who Gives A F*ck?

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One of my favorite pictures is from my 11th birthday party. I had a sleepover that year — 10 kids altogether — and the picture shows each of us in the living room, throwing awkward peace signs and making faces at the camera.

I’m in the middle of the frame, standing on the couch, and literally cheesing like…Chuck E Cheese. Since I’m standing, you can see my entire outfit: A white and gold MCM sweatshirt, a perfunctory pair of white Jordans, a Swatch watch…and some red and black spandex. And not baggy spandex either. These were f*cking yoga pants. If I’d had enough of a package then to be seen, you would have seen my entire package.

But, it wasn’t a big deal. If fact, I was the cool one. Some of you late-80s and 90s babies might not know this, but there was a phase from around 1989 to maybe 1991 where it was fashionable for guys to rock spandex. You’d see grown men walking down city streets with sweatshirts, gold chains, Adidas hats, and spandex pants. This was also a time when S-curls and tails were still cool. Those trends seem wack as the f*ck now, but I doubt anyone was saying that to these guys then.

Anyway, fashion changes almost as quickly as time does. By my senior year in high school, Timberlands, FUBU, Mecca sweatsuits, NBA/NFL jerseys, Hilfiger shirts, fatigues, and fisherman’s caps were what the cool kids rocked. And since I was a cool kid, that’s what I rocked. Now, I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of that. And even if I had an urge to, I wouldn’t be able to. The clothes I owned as an 185 pound high school senior were all bigger and baggier than the clothes I own as a 215 pound adult.

And, as I scan my closet now, I see a few pink and purple-ish polos, dress shirts, and ties. I also have a pair of salmon colored jeans. (I refuse to admit they’re pink.) These are items you probably would not have seen a straight Black man rock in 2000. It’s crazy to think about it now, but 15 years ago it was still taboo for men (Black men especially) to wear pink. Or purple. Or anything that had any hint of pink or purple in it. Now, you can walk down any city street and see legitimate, three-months-fresh-out thugs with purple sneakers and pink laces.

With all this in mind, I wonder if people like Lord Jamar are just naturally ignorant, or did they all just have the same accident that turned them into Guy Pierce from Memento? For those not familiar with Jamar, he’s a late 40s-something rapper who’s managed to snatch some recent relevance by deeming himself THE GUARDIAN VICELORD OF BLACK MALE HYPER-HETEROSEXUALITY AGAINST THE GAY-ASS SHIT AGENDA. Every time any prominent Black male does or says something Jamar deems “suspect,” you’ll find him on Vlad TV within 17 to 37 seconds saying something about it. (This is no hyperbole, btw. He’s the Usain Bolt of “defense against faggotry.” I actually think he lives in Vlad’s refrigerator.)

The latest Jamar rant is targeted at Omar Epps for wearing a leather skirt on The View. Marlon Wayans caught wind of this and jumped in to defend Epps, and this led to Wayans and THE GUARDIAN VICELORD trading insults on Twitter all day. 

Now, was it odd to see Q from Juice in one of Cindy Herron’s skirts? Yes, it was. Perhaps it’s a sign that Omar Epps really, really, really needs that Resurrection money to come through. Or maybe he lost a bet with Mike Tomlin. Who knows? But new fashion is always going to be f*cking odd. If it wasn’t f*cking odd, if it didn’t make people say “WTF is he wearing?” it wouldn’t be new fashion. This doesn’t mean that all fashion-related trends are related equal. I have long, passionate, and sweaty fantasies about giving thermonuclear wedgies to every teenager I see with 80% of his boxers showing. And I’m glad the spandex phase died before Alex Haley did. But that’s just the way things have been and will always be. Trends thought to be “feminine” or “masculine” now will switch roles in 20 years. And, 20 years after that, they’ll switch back.

And maybe that’s why cats like THE GUARDIAN VICELORD are so angry. They don’t give a damn about “feminization” or “the gay agenda” or whatever the hell else. They just really, really, really want Karl Kani to come back.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Reminder: For the next ten days, you can purchase your own I Love Bougie Black Girls t-shirt via Teespring for the insanely low prices of $11.50 for a men’s shirt, $13 for a women’s shirt (don’t ask why the women’s shirts are more expensive, because I have no answers)

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and $24.50 for a hoodie.

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The campaign ends Sunday, March 23. So, if you don’t buy one before then, you, um, won’t have one.

Anywho, they’re available now, so go and BUY!!! and be fly.

Five Things Guys Are Surprisingly Emo About

He will take care of you and shit, right after he checks the scale

Although the common stereotype is that women are the emo-est gender, anyone who’s ever spent any time around any man knows that there are certain common subjects — income, height, sexual prowess, fighting ability (or lack thereof), hair (or lack thereof), favorite sports teams, mamas. etc — that have the potential to turn us into walking, talking, slobbering Drake albums. Smart women do their best to avoid bringing up these potential sore spots, and very smart women use these sore spots to their advantage. (Seriously, I’d wager that at least 87% of all girlfriend/wife to boyfriend/husband digs intentionally meant to push buttons and/or hurt feelings have something to do with one of seven topics listed above. Ya’ll are some cruel motherf*ckers)

Yet, along with the aforementioned seven, there are a few more topics that we’re surprisingly self-conscious about; things that might not get us all emo if you criticize them, but, well, let’s just say they have a tendency to make us do the “Nah, it’s cool. Don’t worry about it” thing when we want you to know it wasn’t cool at all but don’t want to actually say it and have you think we’re all emo (even though we are)

Our weight

***Paraphrased convo between a female friend and I a few months ago***

Friend: “You know what I’ve been noticing lately? Ya’ll act like some teen girls sometimes about your weight. Ya’ll stay making self-depreciating comments about how much you weigh or how out of shape you are just to get us to be like “You look fine.”

Champ: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to stop dating dudes who drink pink Fanta and listen to old Tweet albums at night”

***Three weeks later with different friend***

Friend: “Why did you change shirts? I liked the other shirt.”

Champ: “I don’t know. I think it makes me look fat.”

Our sense of humor (or lack thereof)

The more I think about it, the more I think that our “funny” = women’s “unique.” Think about it: Just how ***gross generalization alert*** every woman thinks they’re the most unique, interesting, and uniquely interesting broad on the planet, we (men) all seem to think that we’re Richard f*cking Jeni. And yes, this includes me. You wouldn’t believe how many knock down, drag out debates I’ve had with girlfriends, dates, f*ck buddies, and sort-of, kind-of concubines about how funny I am.

The argument usually goes something like this:

Champ: “You claim I’m not as funny as I think I am, but I always make you laugh!!! Look, you’re even smiling right now!

Concubine: “I’m smiling because you’re a lame”

Champ: “Tomato, tomahto”

You know, I actually have a theory about this. I think that women think we’re funny if we’re just cool with or dating them, but once you’re in an actual relationship, it goes from “Haha. You crazy” to “You are so damn corny. The only women who laugh at your jokes are the ones who want to sleep with you. You put the N-O in Not Funny.”

Obviously, this theory can be interpreted as “women who like you and/or are interested in you will continue to laugh at your stupid-ass jokes and soothe your fragile ego until it’s established that you like them too and they don’t have to pretend that you’re funny anymore,” but if you dare interpret it that way, I’m banning you from VSB.

Our fashion sense

***Every woman who has ever received serious passive-aggressive emo-pushback when trying to convince her man that the velvet wifebeater and pinstriped blazer look wasn’t a good one is nodding her head in solemn agreement***

Our taste in music

***Every woman who has ever received serious passive-aggressive emo-pushback when telling her man that she thinks Wu-Tang is kind of stupid is nodding her head in solemn agreement***

Our friends

You know how ***gross generalization alert*** most women have frenemies — women they’re “cool” with but secretly hate with the heat of a thousand pairs of Delta thongs — and will spend a good amount of time ragging to you about everything from “that bitch’s pauperized weave” to “that bitch’s lame-ass status messages?” Of course you do, because ***gross generalization alert*** every. woman. does. this.

Thing is, the ubiquity of the frenemy makes them assume that we also have frenemies, and we’re also cool when they talk shit about our “triflin-ass friends.” Well, we don’t, and we’re not. Lemme put it this way: If a Black man is lucky enough to make it to three decades on Earth, he definitely doesn’t have any frenemies. Why? Because all the n*ggas with frenemies die before they’re 24!

Anyway, people of VSB: Can you think of any other subjects that we (men) are surprisingly emo about? Also, fellas, don’t let the ladies off the hook. Name some things you never thought they’d be self-conscious about even though they actually kind of are.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***Please bookmark your calenders for “Myth or Maybe” — a panel moderated by Panama and the homie Rahiel from Urban Cusp, taking place July 26th at the Washington Post building***

Thoughts On The Light-Skinned Beef Heard Round The World, And More…

It was all good just a week ago

1. The Increasingly Bizarre Chris Brown (IBCB for short) is becoming a caricature of himself

You know how in every crime/heist movie, there’s always that one skittish and perpetually sweaty guy who no one really wants to talk to, no one ever wants to partner with, no one trusts with a gun? The guy with strange clothes and “unique” hygiene that’s only involved with the crew because…well, no one really knows why he’s involved with the crew, and the only reason his character was even written was to provide an in-house foil to annoy (and potentially sabotage) the rest of the characters?

Well, I’m not going to say that IBCB is becoming that guy, but IBCB is becoming that guy. His continued descent from “boy next door” to“that sweaty, skeevy, rapey guy with the platinum Caesar and the sleeveless jean jacket doing push-ups in a bar bathroom” has been amazing to witness. You can even argue that Britney Spears is the only other celebrity ever to go from “widespread heartthrob” to “person who creeps the hell out of everyone with an IQ over 86” as quickly as he has.

***“BOY FIGHT! Thoughts on the (Alleged) Drake v. Chris Brown Beef”— my latest at Ebony.com (and an article I obviously did not title) — lists four of my initial thoughts about what could be the most entertaining beef in hip-hop history. While I definitely want you to go over there and read the rest of the list, here are a couple more quick things I want to add

1. As much as I chide toughDrake for being, to quote Big Ghost, “the human electric slide,” I actually don’t dislike him or his music at all. I know his latest album was full of songs that may not even actually be songs, but I’ve stopped expecting him to live up to the expectations he set with “So Far Gone” and “Comeback Season” and just accepted him for who he is — a diabolical (Yes. Diabolical. “Marvin’s Room” was some diabolical-ass shit) stripper-saving “Merchant of Cuddles,” and a talented guy who makes decent albums that you wouldn’t be caught dead actually listening to.

2. Apparently, a three-way series of passive aggressive Rihanna-related tweets between toughDrake, IBCB, and…Meek Mill preceded all of this. Somewhere, Suge Knight is spinning in his grave. (and eating waffles)

3. Rihanna still scares the shit out of me. And by “scares the hell out of me” I mean “somehow simultaneously arouses and scares the hell out of me.” I’ve never been more attracted to a woman who I didn’t think was really all that attractive. Her p*ssy is a paradox, and I somehow feel haunted by it just by typing her name. Basically, she’s the coital “Candyman.”

If this doesn’t make any sense, good. It doesn’t to me either.

***Before you leave today, I want you to go and check out Anything But Style. It’s a fashion blog run by a good friend of mine, and she decided to celebrate her blog’s one year anniversary by launching her own online vintage clothing store today. Although she’s a (gasp) Delta, I’m very proud of her for setting a goal and doing what she needed to do to accomplish it.

***Lastly, check out A.P., this week’s Very Smart Single, and hit us up at contact@verysmartbrothas.com if interested in getting to know her better.

That’s it for me today. People of VSB.com, what’s new on your ends of the world and shit?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Fashion Fo’ Paws

"Hey guys, we look good. Right?"

Vh1 Soul is one of my favorite channels. I love watching music videos. I only watch like three actual television shows and the rest of the time I’m watching movies or videos.

Like this video that’s currently on. It’s Kelly Price featuring Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat, “Secret Love Remix”. In this video, Da Brat shows that she’s a woman, Jermaine Dupri does Jermaine Dupri things from somewhere around 3 feet, and Kelly Price is committing more fashion faux pas than one person should be able to commit. For instance, in one sequence, she is dressed up as the biggest bottle of Pepto Bismol ever. My stomach feels better just looking at her. I’m not sure if that was the intent, but Kelly Price isn’t a small woman. If you’re going to wear one unified color AND make it glossy and be that big, you’re either going to be Kool-Aid or medicine. There’s no two ways about it.

Um, no shots fired to my big friends who really like to wear one piece outfits. You shouldn’t. But I wouldn’t judge you if you did.

So where am I taking you? Southwest.

Here we go. 911.

This video made me think about the myriad horrible fashion trends that existed because of rap videos and pop culture in general. Which of course got me to thinking about the worst fashion ideas to hit generation whicheveroneyoubelongto. Like…

1. Hammer pants

I believe there’s another more formal scientifc name for this: homos pantus. Seriously, hammer pants aren’t anything more than really droppy boxer briefs. Why on God’s green earth did people think that fashion choice was anywhere close to being cool. Hammer is quite evil actually. He had entire neighborhoods walking around looking like genies. Not even like the cool kind from Aladdin. The really gay ones from Oakland.

2. Lacefront weaves

This is only a really bad fashion choice because so many women get them wrong. I’m a pretty standard issue dude. That means that my ability to even recognize a weave is pretty non-existent until I see a track star fall from glory like Marion Jones. But there is no mistaking a bad lacefront weave. You know you can find a crackhead in some places and outfit your whole living room for 2o bucks and a bucket of chicken? I feel like there’s an entire undergound market of lacefront weavers who are giving women bad vajay. What does bad vajay mean? Exactly.

3. Ed Hardy

And I mean anything by Ed Hardy. All of it looks like a**. I could never fully understand why dudes kept wearing those fake tattoo sleeve shirts either. Maybe it’s because I know my father or something but I can’t get down with something that was clearly made for dolphins and walrus cubs to wear.

4. The African medallion phase

Look, this might be blasphemous and all but that was a really odd fashion statement. Mostly because, I’d wager more than half of the ninjas rocking medallions and Malcolm 10 hates couldn’t actually name a country in Africa. Which, ya know is cool if you’re not pretending to be down for the struggle. I don’t know…it’s reminiscent of everybody rocking Che Guevara shirts. Sure it was trendy, but if you can’t actually tell me where the cat on the shirt is from, why are you wearing the shirt? Maybe lack of knowledge is just a personal beef of mine but hey, I went to public school. I’m used to it.

5. Rocking overalls with one strap unfastened

I used to do it too. But it’s like every dude was just preparing for prison. “So this is what it feels like to have my clothes hanging loosely off of me with easy access.” I’m sure it all started because some cat in NYC decided to be different and it caught on like wildfire. Which is amazing if you think about it. It’s just one strap unfastened. Thing is, dudes shouldn’t be wearing overalls anyway. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m pretty sure it has something do with sunflower seeds, lisps, and big guys named Al. But that’s just one man’s opinion, don’t pay me no mind.

Those are five random fashion trends that I think were just ridiculous. My people of the good VSB, what’s the worst fashion trend to hit fashion?

It’s Friday. Let ‘errr rip. Textiles.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

***Attn all***

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, come to The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater TONIGHT for The Dating Truth Live Presents: Find Your Love – a night of entertainment and candid panel discussion and debate about dating, relationships, sex, and love moderated by The Champ and hosted by Ms. Solomon of TheDatingTruth.com.

The night – which starts at 7 pm – also features renowned playwright, activist, educator, and social media maven Kimberly “Dr Goddess” Ellis, comedian and finalist for “Last Comic StandingJason “J-Russ” Russell, and more.

The event is sponsored by Savoy Restaurant & Lounge — Pittsburgh’s premier dining experience

Tickets are $10. Advance tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com (http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1320119513) for a 25% discount if you enter the code “DY”

Thanks!