Just Occurred…Why Sagging is So Sad


I remember when I first saw young men with denim jeans that appeared to be two-three sizes too large.  Immediately I thought of Fat Albert and the Gang because when I first saw those cartoon characters I had the same disturbing gut reaction as when I saw the sagging jeans.  When I saw the Fat Albert kids, I wondered what in the world possessed the creators to dress the young inner-city characters so sloppily?  I mean, why were all of the garments over sized?   I think I decided that they were dressed that way because they had to keep their clothes for so long before they were replaced, that they had to be large enough to grow into.

But, clearly, lack of funds is not the reason for the popularity of the over sized denims worn throughout inner city communities for over ten years, now.  Many of the young people have more money to spend on their wardrobes than most of us born before 1965 could ever imagine.  In fact, they  often match these huge pants with $400 shoes, $200, and diamond earrings as large as your earlobes.  So ,what would possess someone with an apparent fashion sense that results in a single, everyday, casual outfit costing upwards of $1,000, to compliment that outfit with huge, sagging pants that drag the ground, and hide much of the $400 shoes while revealing so much of their underwear that law enforcement would have deemed them indecent just 20 years ago?

For years, while this fashion trend disturbed me on so many levels, I refrained from criticizing because my teenage years were spent rebelling against the status quo by being one of the first in my circle to wear an Afro hairstyle, large hip-huger, elephant-leg pants and stomach revealing mid-drift blouses.  Wow, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t the best dressed young lady in the neighborhood.   Yet, my parents, my friends’ parents, my teachers and practically all other adults, despised my fashion sense and tried with all of their might to restrict when and where I could wear my favorite outfits.  They never got use to the Afro, even after it became a nationally accepted hairstyle.  I swore that when I became an adult I would not attempt to influence the personal style choices of the youth in my circle.  Yet, as the sagging became more and more extreme, with either no belt or with the underwear becoming as much a part of the ‘look’ as the jeans, I realized that I didn’t only think that the fashion is ugly, I think it is asinine.

As a child of the sixties, I lived through the civil rights movement when black males were the target of racists wearing different uniforms, especially law enforcement uniforms.  As such, we didn’t believe in calling the police on a black man; we would be more inclined to handle the situation ourselves.  And we encouraged black males to run from the police as fast as their strong, muscular, legs could carry them.  When I first saw a guy wearing a sagging pair of jeans with the belt tight around his thighs, he resembled a lassoed calf – a self-lassoed calf!  Why, I wondered, would anyone want to willingly stymie his own movements?  More recently I’ve noticed that those young men who remain in a time warp and continue to sag (even while their hip hop rapping role models have moved on to Brooks Brothers), have removed the belt, but now use one of their two hands to hold up the pants at the crouch.

Again, I ask myself, why would someone not only stymie their own movements, but occupy one of their only two hands with holding up a piece of clothing that has for over two centuries been secured with accessories created for the very purpose of freeing the hands for far more important activities?  So, let me get this right – inner-city youth, especially if they are trying to make a statement regarding their toughness, choose, on their own volition, to function with both of their legs and one of their hands restricted at all times.  And, they have no concept that this might just be the absolute worst use of their hands and legs – especially if tough is what they are after.

It Just Occurred to me that these young folk have become psychologically influenced to believe that they must, at all times, remain restricted.  That they must never be allowed to move, at will, from point A to point B.  That they must never have total use of their limbs to deconstruct their decaying  environment; to rebuild new communities; to create beauty in the midst of chaos; to invent tools and technology to help them soar beyond their wildest dreams, and to assist, with both hands and feet, all of the broken, weak, and disabled among them.


11 responses »

  1. WOW! You have said a mouthful! My sista, believe it or not you hit the nail on the head, but for me the question remains, “why”? To self restrict is self defeating which totally goes against the rule of nature to survive! So, this new breed that we are seeing so many of is a evolution in our face? To that I say no, it is not! The music, the lyrics to the music that they repeatilively consume wtih their every waking moment has pentetrated and underminded morals and indepedent thought. If, you never learn to think pass go…….then you won’t ever move on! Blame it on society , blame it on the government, blame it on the “think tanks”, blame it on the masterminds that allowed billion dollars dope dealers (collectively), to go “LEGIT”, by creating music that would be better than a “high” to the masses of young Black men and women; it was cause them to never think pass go!

  2. Claudia: Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. I wish I could answer these questions, but I will wait for the originators of this ‘style’ to answer. You know, the ones who have moved on to the Brooks Brother suits.

    • Those “others” were merely puppets thinking they were thinking their way to freedom, but the cost was their brothers and sisters self imposed slavery…by the way did you hear “Tupac” is back, and sellling a lot of concert tickets? 😦

  3. Jaune I had similiar sentiments in regards to the resticted movement and the constant use of their hands for none other than to pull up their saggin pants. I remember thinking how this was some ploy to keep them from being productive and or creative, but like you I never brought it home where it belongs.. Never should they deconstuct their present conditions or reconstruct their future. They shall remain stuck in the status quo all the while as Claudia stated listening to demoralized lyrics which seemingly leads to stagnant thought patterns which eventually leads to jail or death.
    Claudia I listen to a talk show about the idea of entertainment industry making holograms of entertainers dead or alive and presenting them in concerts. :-/

  4. Jaune, I totally agree that you brought it all the way home with this one! By the time I got to the last line in the last paragraph, my heart was heavy. The true impact of “saggin” has long-reaching tentacles. These young people have no idea of the degree at which their minds are being destroyed or how easily it is being done. What will it take to stop it? What will bring about the shift in consciousness that will allow them to see how destructive their choices are?

    • Hi Inspyerd: Thank you for stopping by and especially, for commenting. I’m not sure what it will take, but I suspect it may involve a new cultural phenomenon to step in and overtake the hip hop culture. Hopefully the new paradigm will be a force for good and productive growth.

    • Inspyerd: Yes, and I expect it will. But more importantly, it would be wonderful to see a cultural trend where young people competed for excellence in life sustaining ways.

    • Inspyerd: Yes, and I expect it will. But more importantly, it would be wonderful to see a cultural trend where young people competed for excellence in life sustaining ways.

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