Monday, October 4, 2010

Why Kellwood Can't Get Away With This

This past weekend, I felt pretty awful. I really wanted to push forward and continue to get the word out about the boycott of all Baby Phat apparel, but I just didn't feel like I'd be able to give it my best. So, I abstained...only to decide that I needed to shuffle my Netflix cue this morning and in the process be brought to shame for my weakness. My American frailty.

I watch a lot of documentaries. They can be entertaining and informative and that's exactly what I need in my life with days that are sometimes jam-packed with to-do lists. So, as I was looking through my Netflix queue, I was pleasantly surprised to find a film by the name of Pray the Devil Back to Hell. I think that it had been there (in the queue) for a while, but I just kind of forgot about it. Today, I felt like something was pushing me towards it.

So, I decide to see what the film was all about and it was all that I could do to keep from weeping right there at my desk at work. This from the film's website:

Thousands of women — ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts and daughters, both Christian and Muslim — came together to pray for peace and then staged a silent protest outside of the Presidential Palace. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, they demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war. Their actions were a critical element in bringing about an agreement during the stalled peace talks.

A story of sacrifice, unity and transcendence, Pray the Devil Back to Hell honors the strength and perseverance of the women of Liberia. Inspiring, uplifting,and most of all motivating, it is a compelling testimony of how grassroots activism can alter the history of nations.

Check out the trailer below:

Absolutely, we are not talking about bringing an end to civil war in this situation between Kimora Lee Simmons and Kellwood/Baby Phat, but again, it's relavent. It's extremely relavent to the other women in business and the fashion industry, in this country and in fact, the world.

Let me break something down for you. In that last post, I quoted some stats from the United Nations and Oxfam that claim that women do 2/3rds of the work worldwide and yet earn peanuts where salary is concerned and barely own anything where property is concerned. So, these Liberian women, of both of the predominate religions in that country, joined together to make a difference. They don't, for the most part, have access to all of the trappings that we have here in the States. But, they were tired of being made to feel as though their voices were irrelevant and ineffective in helping to bring about change in the midst of such turmoil--and guess what? Their decision to make a stand...worked!

Those women could have been slaughtered...hacked to pieces and fed to animals, but they didn't let that stop them from taking a stand against the injustice that sat before them. If they, our sisters among those who decided to go back to the "Mother land" way back when, could find the courage to stand up against bloodthirsty thugs and a known warlord, we can damn sure stand up against a bunch of cowardly, spineless, limp-dicked corporate thugs who wield nothing more than threats as a part of their arsenal.

A sister has been wronged here. I love her to death, but no matter your feelings towards her, which I can almost guarantee are based upon at least one fistful of lies and misinformation, she deserves just as much support as anyone else in this position. There aren't enough women of color in the fashion industry doing what she does for Kellwood to have disrespected her in this manner. And, unless we forget, they disrespected her and the entire Phat Fashions customer base, of all demographics, when they so nonchalantly discarded her as if we didn't matter.

I'm here to let them know that it did and it does and we are sick and tired of it. This post will make 11 so far for this blog, yet in its infancy, and yet both Kellwood and lawyers representing them, Morgan Lewis, have been crawling all over this space. Feast your eyes below on a few screen shots from the StatCounter (click on the image to enlarge):

What are they so concerned about if they haven't done anything wrong? Why are they crawling all over this blog? And, trust that the two listings for Morgan Lewis are but a cursory glance of their visits to the site. Those are just the two times that I decided to grab at this late hour. They weren't noticeably on the site today, but that doesn't mean they weren't there...

Anyway, what I'm getting at is this. The fashion industry, with its built-in barriers for women and men of color, has enough black eyes without this mishandling of Kimora Lee Simmons and her supporters, the customer base of Phat Fashions, to add to the list. We will not be shooed away this time as you snicker under your breaths, convinced that we will still buy these goods. It ends here. No respect? No dollars. And, I've got a lot more to discuss about this racism and sexism in this industry for the rest of this week. You should have handled this appropriately. How dare you send Kimora off as a mere after-thought and say nothing to us as if we are fools. We'll see who the fools are and I'm just getting started. Others are joining in on the effort. The blog isn't even a whole three weeks old and today I didn't tweet a single post and we got new and varied visitors...planting seeds and farming bitches. I'll expand this week. Holidays are upon us. Remember, red Christmas for you. --Sugar