“Pull your pants up.” Countless Black people have heard this, from police officers enforcing anti-Black “dress codes” to their own parents scolding them for not looking “respectable” enough. That’s exactly why people are outraged at luxury fashion house Balenciaga’s newest move: selling built-in sagging pants for $1,190!
Something that Anthony Childs got killed for in 2019.
In 2007, Shreveport, Louisiana passed what they called the “saggy pants ordinance” – which you can guess was “overwhelmingly enforced against [B]lack men.” Childs was one of them.
The 31-year-old was walking down the sidewalk when an officer started the chase that ended in his death.
Brands, and non-Black people across the globe, relentlessly profit off our culture. But Anthony Child’s story reminds us that cultural appropriation and respectability politics have more than just financial consequences.
"I lost my brother. My nieces and nephew lost their father because of his pants,” cried Childs’ sister, Tyren Pucker. So what do we do? Stop our children from sagging to keep them safe?
No! Because police will just come up with another excuse to kill.
The white celebrity who wears those pants will be heralded as a fashion icon, while Childs’ life was stolen. The fact that Balenciaga is making sagging “cool” for white elites shows that its criminalization was never about sagging – it was about criminalizing Blackness itself.