For those who don't know what cultural appropriation is, it means the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.
This isn't the first time that Nike has been in this questionable position of Cultural appropriation two days before International Women’s Day in 2018, Nike unveiled its new product, the Pro Hijab – a product allowing Muslim women to participate in sport while minimizing the practical challenges of wearing a religious item of clothing. Some have criticized Nike on social media (propagating the hashtag #boycottNike), claiming that the product, which is scheduled to debut in early 2018, supports the oppression of women. Others are lauding the brand for a move toward equality, diversity, and acceptance in politically tense times.
On June 5, NIKE, Inc. committed $40 million over the next four years, on behalf of the Nike, Jordan, and Converse brands collectively, to invest in and support organizations focused on social justice, education, and economic empowerment to address racial inequality to the same (NAACP Empowerment Programs, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and Black Girls CODE) foundations that every other corporation donates to. My question as a small black-owned business owner affected by COVID-19 is how are these foundations contributing to the problem of 50% of black businesses closing since the start of the pandemic?
Fast forward 3 years to 2021 and now it seems that Nike is releasing a Nocta Du rag in partnership with Drake. My initial question is where was Nike when black students were getting suspended for wearing durags to school? Those who don't know the history of Durags represent poor African American women laborers and slaves in the 19th century. In the 1930s, during the Harlem Renaissance and Great Depression, the durag evolved into a hairstyle preserver. Will this Durag get the same backlash as their Pro Hijab? Will this collaboration help small durag businesses or hurt?