FUBU; paying homage to the realest acronym in Black culture
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
As you may have read or skimmed from the first blog post and/or the home page then you know BLCK SPCES is pretty dedicated to showcasing #BlackExcellene in every sense - it's only right in my mind. With that, the brand FUBU and #blackjoy are the focal points of this post because even having the right to exist in public spaces, the narrative is not always "For Us, By Us". That being said, FUBU (and its infamous tagline "For Us, By Us") is one of the most elite acronyms that showcase #BlackExcellence - not up for debate.
A product of the 90s - FUBU is a clothing line that openly exemplified that "yeah this is brand for US - for Black culture" w/their well-known tag line "For Us, By Us". Not saying this was the only Black owned clothing brand or businesses making moves in the 90s, but this acronym created a new lane for US and still holds a lot of weight right now - that's major. So, FUBU right? The slogan "For Us, By Us" didn't mean much back then it just sounded cool (once you found out what FUBU stood for) and we didn't question much else about it, a clothing brand geared towards Black people and Black culture. I'm sure we all wore FUBU in some form or fashion (no pun intended) and we rocked it w/hella confidence lol. LL Cool J really made FUBU seem cool as hell lol - I know most of us, well our parents probably, rocked one of these joints before!
photo credit: Google Images; https://www.depop.com/products/bakamboo-t-shirt-fubu-xl-brand-fubu/
The acronym, FUBU, exemplifies that we deserve to exist in equally cool places without confrontation, without feeling like you're being watched or feeling like you'll be outcasted for whatever reason - the end. But when that's not possible then we will unapologetically create it for us, by us. Not being able to just enjoy places as a Black person is for lack of words - stupid as hell - especially public spaces. You can't create elitist rules for public spaces that don't apply to everyone and you definitely can't choose to uproot folks because the way they enjoy space is an expression of their culture.. don't argue me. I found this extremely interesting after I listened to an episode on the Third Wave Urbanism podcast - Black Joy in Public Spaces w/Mariah Williams - it was the best way I've heard and can describe why it's so critical to be able to exist as we are and have places + spaces that we can do just THAT without the extra..
Ms. Williams basically detailed her own experience with celebrating Black culture in a public place and being harassed for using public space to do so; me and others in this profession have failed the public good if we're harassing people for things like this. We're supposed to enhance quality of life through public open spaces - not restrict it for dumbass reasons. You can check that podcast out on Apple podcast or whatever you stream podcasts on, it's a solid listen for urban planners and anyone honestly. Ms. Williams also has a write up on this topic that you can read here.
This example of functional public spaces + places plays a big role in how these instances happen all over the U.S. and how most permanent or temporary places for Black culture have been forced to be held illegally or forced inside or forced in shady spots that have all type of problems. Many have went through hell and high water just to host a legitimate event in public and private places + spaces - but why? I'm shedding the title of "planner" and using "urban place creator" instead because I'm passionate about being part of the solution; not adding to the problem. My work isn't successful if you and I, two Black individuals, can't enjoy public places without some type of harassment, confrontation or feeling of being unwelcome. I want to create and enjoy places that I can celebrate #blackjoy unbothered and unapologetic AS FUCK - period.
FUBU and "For Us, By Us" is everything to how I plan, create, and design public places + spaces - I take it to heart and voice it in every project I'm apart of. Urban planning + design has a bigger impact than we get credit for but we also don't do enough good design for people that look like me to be seen; BLCK SPCES is going to change the narrative one public space at a time. It's #blackjoy over EVERYTHING! ...and it's always #BlackExcellence in all aspects, you know that.
Oh yeah, Daymond John.. appreciate the life long inspiration.
"There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people." -Toni Morrison
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