Let the video soak in. We will be discussing labels and tribalism with Jessica Holter on Inner Views with Ghetto Girl Blue on Coffy Talk Radio. The Video above features Yogi,
Self-Limiting Labels & Tribalism
A label in clothing is intended to give you information about the clothes, the size, for example, so you know if it fits, the maker, in case you need to send it back, or if you want to buy from them again. There may be care instructions, so you know not to put it in hot water, or in the dryer, for example. There was a time when manufacturers put labels inside of the clothing, because, well, you have to wash your own laundry.
I remember my mother being embarrassed once, when my father had left the Sassoon label on the outside cuff of his winter white first Sunday communion suit. It was tacky, she spat as he stepped out of the motor home, striding in his white snake skin shoes with a cool gentleman's dip towards the church house. She knew this gaudy choice had been encouraged by one of his young mistresses. Whoever she was, she was right, to me and my teenage sisters, who were listening. That song, Shake Your Pants, had everyone wanting to rock a label on an ass cheek because of the line, Sassoon, Jordache, even Gloria Vanderbilt, when you shake your pants you know you are dressed to kill."
As soon as clothing designers found out that people would buy clothing with branding on the outside, they quickly realized that clothing could also be billboards. Black American music paved the way for clothing brands to expand their markets, and for artists to go into the advertising business, garnering lucrative endorsements with brands. Including the fact that Hip Hop artists have some of the best stage names on the planet, labels have worked out well for some people.
Labels for humans are more like a math problem, through which you think you must solve for x. But you don't. My quick response to the questions of labels is, why are you labeling yourself if you do not want to be labeled? Moreover, if America is so concerned with labels, why is everything labeled? I can't get my teeth worked on without them asking me what race I am. Why are there so many studies on this group or that group? Like record labels, they record labels and use them to divide and conquer. Don't you just love a good homograph?
First you are spirit, infinite, as energy can never die. Then you are flesh, human, in pretty good company, there are vast connections here that can take you anywhere, but then you begin to check the boxes. You are a boy (already you cut your group down to less than half). Then you are a color. Then you are a citizen of some place, a resident of some town. Maybe you are a student or a soldier, tougher than an airman, you are a Marine. Perhaps you are a member of some group that doesn't believe in groups.
One day you find yourself in an itty-bitty box, too small for all the other humans to fit inside with you. Perhaps you like being there, at the center of our attention, like the distraction you were intended to be. Maybe you think you are The One, but honey, we are all The One to us, in this infinite web of energy where vanity is our undoing. Savvy businessmen groom you, like a poet from the projects, recording your labels for the Masters.
I remember a woman who tried to appeal to our understanding about what should and should not be ok to do and to say, when one is center stage, but all they had for C. Delores Tucker was a label.
Ghetto Girl Blue