Source: A Stolen Culture and the Price You Pay for It

Last week I had the opportunity to present on the multitude of ways in which Nike profits off “African-American cool”. Many of Nike’s early advertisements in the late 1900’s contain Spike Lee and Michael Jordan with the broad influences of the hip athletic culture and stylized black urban youth culture.

Here is a a Nike Advertisement advertising the Air Jordan 5. One thing I didn’t mention in my presentation was how many other sports brands stylize black culture. Here is an advertisement for the Adidas remixed with Run DMC “My Adidas”, clearly profiting off the influence Run DMC had with the target demographic of Adidas.

Jacob Greenberg’s Essay My February’s Black, My Nikes Too hits to the point of the commodification of black culture in Nike’s Black History Month Sneaker collection in which the company has figured out a way to brand the month. In addition, Nike’s ad campaign with Kevin Durant Be Bold. Be True. portrays the typical narrative of black youth in underprivileged settings and urban basketball courts.

How can we combat the commodification of black culture?

Shop from businesses that support Black Lives Matter and align with your own values  and support black owned businesses. Here are two websites where you can find a few:

From Week 5: Social Media Analysis Presentation





One response »

  1. oliviaklugman says:

    I thought these ad campaigns were very interesting and disturbing because instead of blatant cultural appropriation, the companies hid under the disguise of “honoring black cutlure” even though the white-owned companies exploited black history month for profit.

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