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Chuck D, Dave East, Jadakiss & God Shammgod Talk Sneaker Culture And Public Enemy’s Legacy At PUMA Pop-Up
In celebration of Def Jam and PUMA Hoop's latest sneaker release, the legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy sat down with writer Russ Bengtson, rappers Jadakiss, Dave East, and basketball street legend God Shammgod for a live panel discussion during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend (Feb. 15).
Held inside the League Fits Lounge powered by the PUMA Hoops pop-up, the four panelists chatted about the new PUMA Sky LX and PUMA Clyde kicks, Public Enemy's legacy and the rise of hip-hop and sneaker culture. Jadakiss, East, Chuck D, and Shammgod all pledged their allegiance to the rapidly growing culture.
"I'm a sneaker addict. Until I die, I think I'm always going to be excited with new sneakers," said East. "I like knowing I'm going home and there are sneakers that I ordered that are waiting for me. These [PUMA] sneakers are dope and I'm happy to be here with Chuck D sharing this moment."
"It’s a form of accomplishment like I made it," said Jadakiss when asked about his thoughts on the collaboration and speaking on the panel with the hip-hop legend. "How many years I spent listening to Public Enemy and for Chuck D to be a fan and acknowledge me as a constituent, a colleague, and contemporary in some form is a feeling that no money or accolade can compare to."
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The Chi today debuting the new PE - PUMA Collab. Talking Hip Hop + B-Ball w @jadakiss @daveeast @leaguefits @pumahoops at 4:30 Get em at puma.com 💥💥💥 ..... ...... ...... #nbaallstar #chuckd #pumahoops #sneakers #kicks #collection #fightthepower #fearofablackplanet #publicenemy #publicenemyradio #hiphop #daveeast #jadakiss
Chuck D also shared some gems and stories from his time when Public Enemy's popularity skyrocketed in the early '90s. Public Enemy became one of the most popular groups in hip-hop history for their socio-political rhymes and in-your-face attitude. Many rappers strive to be the most popular artist in the game but for Chuck D and his band of brothers, their perspective was different.
"My goal wasn't to be like the popular group that everybody loved. We wanted to see groups and artists around us do well," Chuck D recalls. "We wanted to see young people do well. We were already older and we weren't trying to impress anybody."
When Public Enemy made their debut there was nothing like the militaristic rap crew from Long Island. Their music criticized the media and spoke heavily on the plights that blacks faced in the United States.
"We represented a fu**ed up situation. It was a wilder time in hip-hop before records in 1978 and 1979, and we saw sh*t for three to four years," said Chuck D about the inspiration behind the group’s formation. "Hip-hop came out of those ashes to speak out against a lot of that bullsh*t and didn't get an answer to years later."
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NEW YORK STATE OF MIND. 🗽
As most people thought Public Enemy were too aggressive and hated the white community, Chuck D reminded the audience that wasn't the case. "We didn’t come against society like f**k white people. No, this is our story [that] you need to hear instead of that bullsh*t story," Chuck D said.
At the end of the discussion, Chuck D gave props to his three guests for their contributions to the culture; He shared how he enjoys playing East's music all the time, praised Jadakiss' raspy voice for its sound on a record, and saluted Shammgod for his global impact on the game of basketball. "I'm proud to be on this panel man because I've studied each and every one of these creatives in their life."
PUMA Hoops and Def Jam's sophomore release celebrates Public Enemy's game-changing third album Fear of a Black Planet with two different iterations of the PUMA Sky LX and PUMA Clyde, two sneakers that Public Enemy and several other Def Jam artists wore back in the day.
The PUMA x Public Enemy Sky LX features a white and red colorway with a leather upper and Def Jam's logo plastered on the tongue and Chuck D's iconic "Fight the Power" verse stamped on the side. The PUMA x Public Enemy Clyde, on the other hand, features an all-red upper with black accents. The lowcut sneaker also features a white outsole with "FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET" written across it.
NBA All-Star weekend returned to Chicago for the first time in more than 30 years. In celebration of the exciting festivities making its way back to the Windy City (Feb. 14-16), American Express teamed up with Chicago designer, Don C, to launch a limited-edition sneaker.
The Nike Air Force 1 Hi Just Don pays homage to his Midwestern city's roots with the “Amex Blue” custom sneaker resembling the blue and red found on the city’s flag. The blue appears on the smooth leather on the uppers while tumbled blue leather is on the strap. Hints of red can be found on different areas of the shoe, including the Just Don heel branding.
To commemorate the sneaker’s release and the unique collaboration, Don C sat down for an intimate chat with former SportsCenter host Cari Champion. During the American Express Experience complete with an exclusive menu and cocktails, Don C expressed his excitement around sneaker life reaching the point of doing collaborations with a major brand such as American Express and big businesses respecting and recognizing the work of small businesses. A small group of about 150 guests also learned more about his streetwear background and how his upbringing in Chicago played a major part in his work, especially his latest sneaker.
Don C first began his streetwear brand and store, RSVP Gallery, with fellow Chicago designer Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Artistic Director) 10 years ago. The brand’s apparel was based on the designers’ experiences while traveling the world alongside Kanye West. They wanted to give back to their city and offer Chicagoans a taste of what they were exposed to in other parts of the world. Through the power of social media and “community members” as he considers his customers, the brand has grown tremendously through the years and is a staple in the Chicago area.
Then, in 2017, Don C was tapped by Nike to design a luxury limited-edition sneaker for the brand’s Air Force 1 35th anniversary. He gave a nod to the Buck 50 hats, a popular accessory in Chicago, with the Just Don x Nike Air Force 1’s touches of gold hardware and snakeskin. Since that time, Don C has collaborated with Nike on other designs including the Air Jordan 1, but he has returned to the iconic Air Force design with the latest offering, once again taking inspiration from Air Force 2 and 3, since in his words “the 1 gets enough shine.”
The Nike Air Force 1 Hi Just Don sneakers (retailed at $200) were available exclusively online to American Express Card Members on Thursday (Feb. 13), and sold out in just three minutes.
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To celebrate @nbaallstar weekend, I’ve collaborated with @americanexpress to present this limited edition Nike Air Force 1 Hi 🥶 - Growing up in Chicago, basketball has always been a huge part of my life so I’m excited the sports biggest weekend is back in my City! #nbaallstar #amexambassador
With the success of his sneaker partnerships, he continues to focus on building up the Just Don brand and dropping more exclusive apparel and sneakers for “community members” to love and enjoy. Sports, style, heritage, and good principles are his current focus areas as he works to bring exclusivity to the community and make the community feel special. When asked what’s on the horizon, he said, “Using the growth that I’ve learned from entities bigger than my own to apply to my own organization and growing my organization to an entity as big as American Express.”
New York's Spring Studios may have been dripped in white backdrops during NYFW, but the flavor was anything but bland during LaQuan Smith's Fall/Winter 2020 show. Presented alongside the launch of the new Moët & Chandon Limited-Edition Signature bottlings, the edgy but benevolent designer presented all-black looks that would make any fast fashion soldier switch over to the luxurious side.
Puffer jackets with skirts to match arrived down the runaway with baggy tracksuits, giving the audience an array of looks for the cozy girl all the way down to the trendy posh woman. Speaking with VIBE backstage, Smith shared how the importance of confident women inspired his recent unveiling. "I just wanted to do something that was super confident and really progressive," he explained. "I think that I have a really true sense of who my woman is at this point so right now I'm really having fun being able to design for a woman who is super comfortable in her own skin. This strong sense of elegance, glamour, and confidence is like the woman that I'm designing for so that was sort of the mood and the attitude for this season's collection."
The conscious mix of a free spirit and earnest attitude is something Smith has conjured since his early days on the scene. After making his NYFW debut in 2010, Smith has attracted the biggest names in entertainment on the runway like Rihanna, Cassie, Serena Williams, Nicki Minaj and recently supermodel Winnie Harlow. With such dominating and powerful women in Smith's orbit, it makes it easy to see just how spot-on his looks are.
But famous ladies aren't Smith's only muses. His show consisted of women of color—specifically Sudanese and Asian models, which made a big splash on social media. There was also a plus-size model who rocked the hell out of a little black dress.
"I'm inspired by a woman who appreciates getting dressed up in the day," Smith added. "Not even having a reason to dress up, just 'Yes!' Just 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I'm really about somebody who just enjoys the thrill of dressing up." But Smith's goal at the end of the day is to bring back chic demeanor of yesterday, where fashionistas would dress to the nines on Casual Fridays.
"I want to revive those moments again where women would wear skirt suits during the day to go to work," he said while pointing to his boiled wool jackets and matching pencil skirts. "They can transition from day to evening. I want to be able to bring back that level of glamour from an American perspective because I'm from New York City and this is the city that made me, this is the city that inspired me so for me to just be able to design and create off of all of my inspirations and my upbringing is a thrill."
Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" closed the show but the celebratory vibes continued with guests like Tinashe, Delilah Hamlin, Amelia Hamlin, ASAP Ferg and Renell Medrano, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Young Paris, Patrick Starr, and Cyn Santana enjoying Moët & Chandon.
See more moments from the show below.Tinashe A$AP Ferg and Renell Medrano Ryan Jamaal Swain Jonathan Mannion Patrick Starr