SHAUN KING: The Struggle to Find A Black Owned T-Shirt
|Editors TNS||Dec 15, 2020|
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I’m not gonna lie, the work I do every single day is extremely hard.
For years I have worked nonstop in the fight against white supremacy and police brutality. I’ve worked alongside families whose loved ones were murdered and sat with them while they grieved. I’ve spoken at funerals, made meetings with politicians to stop executions and given my all to every single case that’s come my way.
I’ve experienced devastating losses, far more than wins. But I continue to fight because this is the most important work of my life.
People often ask me what I do to unwind and step back from the weight of this work. Today, I want to share with you all something I've been interested in recently.
Since I was a teenager growing up in Versailles, Kentucky, I’ve loved fashion. My icons were the fly rappers and R&B groups of the 80’s and 90’s who were always dressed to the T. When I was 14 and got a job at my local Dairy Queen, I spent my very first paycheck on a bright purple two piece suit. I wore it around my small town feeling fly as hell.
In June of last year, I asked a really basic question.
Could anybody connect me to some Black-owned T-shirt companies?
I got thousands of messages and discovered some really incredible Black owned design and printing companies, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
I wanted to find T-shirts that are created from materials grown by Black-owned farms, cultivated in Black-owned cotton mills and stitched by Black-owned companies. This is where I hit a wall. While there were a number of clothing companies owned by brilliant Black people, their T-shirts were still sourced from white-owned factories whose items were created mostly by people in impoverished countries who weren’t being paid a living wage.
I wanted every part of the shirt to come from and benefit Black creators, and ensure every person that helped create it was making a living wage.
To find a place that did this, I had to search literally all across the world.
I’m so excited to share with you guys what's coming next. I’m going to make some major announcements soon, so be sure to follow @ARealOne on Instagram for the latest updates.
On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun explains his newest hobby and the journey it took to make his dream a reality