Wikipedia says that “ Hip-hop fashion is a distinctive style of dress originating with the African-American and Latino youth in The Bronx (New York City), and later influenced by the hip-hop scenes of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area), and The Dirty South among others. Each city contributed various elements to its overall style seen worldwide today. Hip hop fashion complements the expressions and attitudes of hip hop culture in general. Hip hop fashion has changed significantly during its history, and today it is a prominent part of popular fashion as a whole across the world and for all ethnicities.”
Today I discovered what happens when Hip-Hop meets ‘Ha Ha Bay’, or perhaps ‘Herring Neck.’ It was a picture of what one gets when crossing ‘Gangsta’ with ‘Gull Island’ or ‘Glover’s Harbour.’ Today I boarded a plane from St. John’s to Toronto. Behind us sat three young men who were entirely bay-boys from Newfoundland on their way to Calgary. I found myself smiling at their youthful exuberance and the eloquence of their beautiful Newfoundland accents. That all worked well as long as I sat and listened. Everything seemed in place. But, I looked at these young men. That’s when the clash of cultures set me into a tailspin. They were decked out in Hip Hop hats, and extra baggy pants, you know where the belt (when applied) is around the bottom of the bum instead of at the waistline. Dark Tatto lettering was to be found up and down the arms and necks and the necessary bling, bling and piercings were also appropriately placed for any self respecting gangsta! It was as if Eminem himself had been raised in Cow Head instead of on 8 mile in Detroit. The lunacy of this only grew when these dudes began discussing their bright future with fellow travelers. “we’re ‘eaded to Calgary fir werk, dawg!” The woman next to this freelance roustabout asked how long they would be away from home. “We’ll be hangin’ der fir 6 weeks.” The follow-up from his seatmate was swift, “are you a university student?” There was no delay from ’60 cent.’ “nuna dat dawg! I’m a wurkin man!” I almost spit my tomato juice across the seat in front of me. It was, if nothing else, very entertaining. This whole episode reached the pinnacle when they all fell asleep. It was a sweet picture to say the least. It is hard to keep the look of high “street cred” when you sleep sitting up. You revert to being a simple sleeping child of God’s making with no fashion and no reputations to maintain. These guys from ‘da hood’ (somewhere between Nick’s Nose Cove and Bumble Bee Bight) whose fashion statement was inspired by prison garb, were sleeping side by side, almost head to head. They were as precious as any newborn. All that separated them was the peaks of the hats. Thankfully one of the boys wore his hat 45 degrees off center to the left and the other 45 degrees off center to the right. I guess it is fair to say that the hip-hop style of ‘fashion’ has indeed become “a prominent part of popular fashion as a whole across the world and for all ethnicities.”
Life would be pretty dull if we did not have the great cross pollination of cultures that we see in our world today. It is just surprising how all of that germination manifests itself and where it presents itself. My gift was being present today to witness it. Very entertaining indeed – DAWG!