The Evolution of Hip Hop Fashion

Ankle strap stiletto, by Francesso Russo

I have always had an avid interest in my inherited culture, and as a media documentarian, have repeatedly looked for ways to promote “the life,” even though I’ve been limited by numerous circumstances including attitudes. 

Having travelled and lived in more than one continent, I have had a broad exposure to the diaspora’s heartbeat. 

As I watched the 63rd airing of the GRAMMYS, I saw the evolution gaze of millions worldwide. I saw the masquerade bands of Guyana, the steel drums of Trinidad and Tobago, the “RASTA “Reggae” of Jamaica, the samba of Brazil, the R&B of USA, and the Afro beats that came with the ancestry across the middle passage. 

On my visits to New York City, the major fashion houses in the “garment district” did not carry the clothing for those with whom I rubbed shoulders on the pavements. That population followed RUN DMC, LL KOOL J, KOOL MOE DEE. Sweats, bomber jackets, T-Shirts, sneakers, and boots, were the fashion. 

Gone were the styles of Johnny Mathis, Little Richard, Marvin Gaye, Dianao Ross, Aretha Franklin. HIP HOP, spoke revolution. A language of defiance, non-conformist. The masquerader had found his audience; if he did not want to comb his hair, he did not; eat fried chicken with his hands at a gala, he did. And Africa rained supreme: gold chains, with links as big as finger knuckles; diamonds placed on the body in places, perhaps only the residents of Sodom experienced. 

Black country singer Mikey Guyton, Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé, HER, host Trever Noah, Beyoncé/Megan

MEGAN THEE STALLION, was the ultimate at the Grammys. Covered up modestly from waist high, and then carried a split from waist to the floor with Stiletto heels. Her dance was a “flounce” in masquerade language. (Gyrations of bouncing flesh, never before seen on national television). A tremendous upgrade, the masqueraders do theirs barefooted, down to the floor, [limbo] sweat falling from their bodies, while onlookers cheer filled with 100 proof rum. 

I consider the ultimate upgrade for Hip Hop fashion to be DA BABY. WHITE SUIT, WHITE GOLD, WHITE DIAMONDS, WHITE JUDGES DRESSED IN BLACK and he wore what seemed like a WHITE ASCOT! 

This outfit you may soon be seen at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom. Maybe my creation of the OSTIE, and OSTIE 2 (unisex), may finally get some breathing room. I am not from the Hip-Hop community, so I have no significant following. www.Osworldinc.com is my skin care line and has been around since 1992. I have been confined to barber shops. Some people peel off the label to see if I am fronting for someone else. I get the occasional, “Oswald, I did not know you…” then they go out and purchase Oil of Olay, or an off brand from The Dollar Store. 

I do not endorse everything associated with hip-hop, however, it is admirable to see the sons and daughters of the African diaspora, create a revolution, similar in spirit to the one amalgamated in 1776, when the 13 colonies shouted in unison, “no more!” 

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