Appreciating the Origins of Cultural Phenomenons

Appreciating the Origins of Cultural Phenomenons

By Cora-Jane Jordon


This Black History Month, a good way to take account of the role the black community have played in all parts of life is to explore the creations of different passions. From music to fashion, minority cultures have redefined style and individuality for everyone. Below are just a few examples of how we have been inspired by the black community.



The 1985 Air Jordan, currently valued at $560,000, are often seen as the shoe that created sneaker culture. It is believed that the modern-day trainers obsession found its roots in New York, where avid lovers of Basketball and Hip Hop chose to express themselves through their shoes. The wide range of styles as well as the ability to customise the shoes appealed to everyone. Now, even big fashion brands like Balenciaga and Prada are embracing the movement by creating their own sneakers. 



It was in the 80s and 90s that there was a rise in popularity in athleticwear, chunky jewellery and Logomania. Artists such as RUN-DMC and Grandmaster Flash can be noted for transforming athleticwear into mainstream fashion. Tracksuits and baggy shirts began staples in many closets across the US and spread across the world, appealing to youth worldwide. Dapper Dan can be credited for the obsession with logos, having made outfits using illegal printing to copy famous brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Other popular trends include Bucket hats and large chains became popular when artists such as Jay Z and LL Cool J adopted them. Now, with a resurgence of the nostalgic 90s fashion, these trends have become modern staples. 



Whilst most of the slang discussed below is primarily spoken in London, it is hard to ignore its origins. Officially known as Multicultural London English, modern British slang has roots in Jamaican Patois and other African-Caribbean communities. Many of the common terms used by the youth were coined by African-Caribbean speakers in the UK as well as Hip Hop artists in the US. 

Some great examples include:

‘Wagwan’ – ‘What’s going on?’

‘Rah’ – ‘Really/Seriously?’

‘Bare’ – ‘A lot’

‘Fam’ – ‘Family’

‘Peng/Leng’ – ‘Attractive’

‘Yard’ – ‘Home’

Image: Rizzoli New York



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