Known for unifying culture and community through individual expression, Cruvie Clothing Co. is expanding its reach into empowerment merchandising through a collaboration between Southern University student-athlete (tennis), Mackenzi Stewart.
Know Your Truth? is empowerment apparel designed to educate and inform the masses about key concepts, events, people, etc. that were conveniently and intentionally left out of our history books. KYT? steps in where the K-12 educational system never picked up, providing basic, fundamental facts and truths about pivotal people, places and ideas in our society.
Did you know that the history of policing has some pretty dark origins? During slavery, slave patrols were typically armed, poor, white men that were employed to police the movement and behaviors of enslaved people. Policing as we know it today evolved directly from the evil practices of the slave patrols who often used brutality and force to control enslaved people.
Atlanta Race Riots
Atlanta is known as the city too busy to hate, but that wasn’t the case in 1906. The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 was a culmination of many factors: job competition between Blacks and whites, an emerging class of elite Blacks who were gaining economic, political, and educational power, etc. As you can imagine, whites were not too happy about Black folks experiencing so much success. On September 22, 1906, after a heated governor’s race and multiple allegations that Black men were assaulting white women, tensions finally gave way. White mobs destroyed Black businesses, killing and injuring large numbers of Black people in the process.
“The most disrespected woman in America, is the Black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the Black woman.” – Malcolm X You can watch the bio drama ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ to see this quote in action, or just ask any African-American woman you see – especially those of the darkest hue. The next question you must ask yourself is why. Glad you asked💡 Part of the answer is rooted in #ParamourRights. “Paramour Rights” refer to the assumption that white men have a “right” to use Black women and little girls for sex regardless of whether or not they are willing or married to someone else. During enslavement, Black women and little girls were the sexual property of white enslavers. After the Civil War, that attitude continued. What’s not spoken about Paramour Rights is the role that white women played with their silence. Which makes the women’s movement very complicated for Black women…but that’s a whole ‘nother truth😉 Thank you for standing with us and having the courage to be Truth Tellers🤎
The Blue Vein Society
Turns out, white supremacy is not only an evil that consumes some white folks, it also can infect the hearts and minds of Black folks too. When it does, it shows up in ideas like the Blue Vein Society. Blue Vein Societies were exclusive clubs formed by lighter-skinned Blacks to separate themselves from the, so called, less desirable darker skinned Blacks🙄 The last thing we need as Black folks is another thing to cause division/dissension between us. Yet here we are. Hopefully when you learn about this truth and buy the shirt, your wearing it will spark some much needed conversations amongst everyone – especially Black sisters and brothers – not just African-Americans – but also from a global perspective. Cause at the end of the day-we’re all the same kind of Black to racists.🤷🏾♀️
In Black American culture, we have a saying – ‘A cryin’ shame’. When something is a cryin’ shame, that thang is down right awful! Awful doesn’t begin to even put into perspective what the racist, white doctor, George Gey, did to Ms. Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer and during an examination, Dr. Gey snipped cells from her cervix without her knowing and without her consent. To his surprise, he found out that not only could Ms. Henrietta’s cells be kept alive, but they also grew indefinitely. You could say he found out what we already know – Black Girl Magic. I wish I could tell you that the good white people who came along attempted to make amends for what was done to Ms. Henrietta, but I guess that got filed into “these things take time” or “that was back then” or “I wasn’t alive then so…” Whew chile!🙄 NPR did a feature on this: https://www.npr.org/2010/02/02/123232331/henrietta-lacks-a-donors-immortal-legacy and you can learn more about Ms. Lacks, her legacy and the good folks who are working to make things right at http://henriettalacksfoundation.org/ You know what to do…learn the truth, buy the shirt, share the truth.
Turns out, white supremacy is not only an evil the consumes some white folks, it also can infect the hearts and minds of Black folks too. When it does, it shows up in ideas like Colorism. The National Conference for Community and Justice defines colorism as: “A practice of discrimination by which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin. This practice is a product of racism in the United States, in that it upholds the white standards of beauty and benefits white people in the institutions of oppression (media, medical world, etc.).” The last thing we need as Black folks is another thing to cause division and dissension between us. Yet here we are. Hopefully when you learn about this truth and buy the shirt, your wearing it will spark some much needed conversations amongst everyone – especially Black sisters and brothers – not just African-Americans – but also from a global perspective. Cause at the end of the day-we’re all the same kind of Black to racists.🤷🏾♀️
Know Your Truth?
Our flagship signature tee that poses a simple question to the masses. Based on all the lies we’ve been spoon-fed in the K-12 educational system, this question is valid and deserves to be answered with knowledge.
Black Wall Street
Move on they say…forget about the past and live in the present. Well…ummm, we’ve tried that several times, and the destruction of Black Wall Street proves that no matter what we do, until we condemn White Supremacy in this country, Black folks won’t be able to live peacefully. To learn about one of our nation’s worst acts of domestic terrorism, click the learn more link:
Atlanta’s Berlin Wall
With all this talk from White American leaders about building walls, it’s important to note that 45 wasn’t the first. In the heart of the City Too Busy Atlanta, Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. ordered barricades to be built across two Atlanta streets to discourage Black citizens from purchasing homes in an adjacent all White neighborhood. The wall was intended to separate White and Black sections of Peyton and Harlan Roads in Atlanta. This was in December 1962 by the way. Just for context, my Grandmother on my Mom’s side was two years old and she’s still alive today; so much for racism only existing during slavery (deep eye roll). There’s a lot to be learned here, so check out the following link for a very well written and informative article by Paul Crater of Atlanta Magazine:
The Heritage is the story of the rise, fall, and fervent return of the athlete-activist. As athletes, we have a tremendous platform where some of us have been blessed to reach millions, to impact the world. For Black athletes, with that blessing comes a responsibility to speak on and speak out against social injustices. And for those of us with the bank accounts to do it, we have a responsibility to put dollars behind the movement. Not everyone, however, is equipped to be the voice and face of the movement. The Heritage by Howard Bryant is a must read book for student-athletes who want to learn more about athlete-activism; how to do it right and how to do it wrong. This Know Your Truth original is a salute to those Black athletes who made sacrifices for The Movement. Sacrifices that cost some such as Paul Robeson, John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Muhammad Ali more than any of us could ever know. Click the learn more link to learn more about Howard Bryant and his work.
Juneteenth: June 19, 1865
June 19, 1865 is the true Black American Independence Day. On July 4, 1776 when White folks was running and rejoicing through the streets about the independence they had won from Great Britain by way of the Revolutionary War (with the help of Black enslaved Americans no less), Black folks were still enslaved and had nothing to rejoice about.
Click the learn more link for more info.
Origin Stories Matter
When speaking about the plight of Black people in America, folks rarely start at the beginning. From housing, to economics, to eduction, to policing, there are reasons behind how these systems have been corrupted by racism. These reasons can be summed up in two words – people and policy. The next time you’re in a debate or discussion about race, start from the origin of whatever topic you’re discussing. As an aspiring education reformist, click the learn more link for insight on one of my favorite origin stories.
Know Your Truth?
Understanding the Black American experience means understanding that our heroes don’t live to enjoy old age and the fruits of their activism labor. It’s not by accident of course. It’s all by design. COINTELPRO was a government-sponsored surveillance program that was created by J. Edgar Hoover to defame, discredit, intimidate and kill any leaders who presented themselves as Black American activists and leaders of Black Liberation. You know it’s always Black History Month for KYT, but we’re dropping this bit of truth in honor of the upcoming release of Judas And The Black Messiah. I implore you to do your research so you can educate yourself and others on this important – intentionally left out – piece of American history. Buy the shirt. Join the movement. Spark conversation.
Sundown Towns End
LAWD HAVE MERCY!!! I can hear my Momma shouting this African-American cultural phrase that pleads with the Creator to lift the heavy hand of whatever burden is weighing one down- in this case, the burden is man made and it’s called white supremacy. This oppressive tool of white supremacy, Sundown Towns, deals with one of the most prominent features of the evil ideology- lack of mobility. According to www.blackpast.org, Sundown Towns are all-white communities, neighborhoods, or counties that exclude Blacks and other minorities through the use of discriminatory laws, harassment, and threats or use of violence. Check out the following link for more info on Sundown Towns so you can learn more truth and share it with others:
The Children’s Crusade
A lot of people will tell you that the March On Washington was a catalyst for change in the Civil Rights Movement. I will stand flat footed and tell anybody that the March On Washington was made possible almost entirely by the sacrifice of the African-American children who willingly participated in the Children’s Crusade in May of 1963. This tide turning event made all Americans finally pay real attention to the non-violent, Civil Rights Movement being led by Dr. King and other prominent leaders in the Black community. It was a tough decision for Dr. King and the leaders to make, but they had to do something to turn the consciousness of “White moderates” as he called them- White people who know racism was wrong, but will still tell Black people to wait until White people say it’s time to be free. Turns out all it took was unleashing water hoses and attack dogs on our babies to change a few minds. We always have to give blood sacrifices in order for the idea of first class citizenship to be a real idea for us. Woooosahhhh! For more on this pivotal, youth led event, check out this video: https://youtu.be/WV0k-3Hkjsw. And don’t forget to buy the shirt, join the movement and share truth.
The People’s Grocery
Have you ever experienced something that completely changed your outlook on life? Have you ever witnessed something that shook you to your core so forcefully that you had no choice but to act? Well, our ancestor, Ida B. Wells would answer “yes” to both questions. Click the following link to learn more about one of the most pivotal moments of her life and career– the brutal and unjust lynching of her dear friends, Thomas Moss, William Stewart, and Calvin McDowell, owners of the People’s Grocery in Memphis, Tennessee. Check out the following link for more info on The people’s grocery so you can learn more truth and share it with others:
When you think of AfroFuturism, what do you think of? Black Panther? Lovecraft Country? Do you think of magic-wielding, techno-savvy Black folks navigating mystical realms or traveling through time and space? I mean…all that sounds cool, but you know what seemed pretty magical and futuristic to our ancestors? The possibility that one day they could experience genuine freedom, independence, and autonomy. Click the link to learn more about AfroFuturism and its meaning in the Black community:
Recall what you know about the nature of interactions between enslavers and enslaved people or solely amongst enslaved people during American slavery. Now, think about Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Movement. Today. Has much changed? I mean, really think about it. Has plantation life and all the politics, trauma, and suffering that came with it really ended, or has it simply evolved? While some will try to relegate this term solely to politics, I propose that the magnitude of the psychological warfare that our ancestors and elders endured just to get through their everyday lives has shaped the way we’ve socialized, aka raised, our generations. Why do Black children have to show how good they can be by demonstrating obedience versus White children who get to frolic and play? Why is colorism such a stumbling block within the Black race? These and many other topics and norms can be traced back to the plantation and the politics of it all.
About Mackenzi Stewart
Fueled by her parents’ passion for racial and social justice, Mackenzi has been on the front lines of social impact since the age of six when her parents launched the family’s non-profit organization, L.E.A.D., Inc. (Launch. Expose. Advise. Direct.). LEAD is a sport for social good organization that empowers at-risk and proven-risk Black boys to overcome crime, poverty and racism. Through volunteering, designing and organizing programming, community affairs work and various administrative duties that include donor management and event planning/execution, Mackenzi developed her own conviction and discovered her calling in the social justice landscape: promoting and designing culturally responsive educational ecosystems. Know Your Truth? Empowerment Apparel is an idea that came from her own quest for more knowledge about Africans and The African Diaspora.