Gangsta’ Glitter: A Premonition

Everything is better with glitter

Everything is better with glitter

The other night I had a dream. A dream that might well predict the future of urban fashion.

Just as I was drifting off, in that stage of not-quite-waking, not quite sleeping, I had a hypnogogic vision. It was during Phase 1 sleep, so it was just a brief flash, the kind of thing that can by behind your eyes without your taking serious notice. But I took notice, because it was pretty weird.

I was outside in a city, a big black Escalade pulled up, the tinted window rolled down, revealing a black man wearing some standard urban duds, let’s say apuffy  North Face jacket with a furred hood. The strange thing was he was wearing silver glitter lipstick and glitter eyeshadow, and pulling it off without the slightest emasculation.

It made him look crazy badass, not like a twiggy little anglo androgyne. A very striking effect.

Maybe it was the Haloween spirit. Maybe it has already happened, and I am behind the curve. I’m just saying: from my timid-white-boy-don’t-really-listen-to-rap-because-it-seems-kind-of-hostile standpoint, it seems that hip-hop fashion has a way of absorbing things and spitting them out way better.

North face, Nautica, Polo – these were once crusty crusty brands, forever doomed to be paraded around private day schools, yacht clubs, and golf courses. Timberlands? Built for crusty crusty lumberjacks.

Kanye is already into Japan Pop, working with Takashi Murakami on his album covers. He recycles tropes like nobody’s business, from Evil Kenevil to 80s infomercials. He could totally collaborate with Bowie next.

Glam rock and Goth style is just about crusty enough in contemporary culture for it to be making a stunning comeback. Where better than Hip-Hop?

Some of you might say, “Talking about other people’s dreams is boooooring. Besides, Bling is already a passé cliché.”

“True.” I would reply, “But imagine if silver glitter lipstick were as ubiquitous on as Timberland Boots. Would not that be awesome?”

Perhaps a premontion, perhaps just a dream.

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2 Responses to Gangsta’ Glitter: A Premonition

  1. I don’t know if masculinity is construed in similar ways between white and black, particularly in America. Tricky was a Bowie’d out black man, but would black americans see gender as a battleground the same way the trip hop pioneer did? There’s just something inherently different between a white man in tights and glitter lip gloss and a black man in the same. Specifically here in America.

    Then again, MJ wore a glitter glove and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Ne-Yo and Chris Brown toying with the more palatable eccentricities of MJ’s wardrobe.

    However, if there is a move toward the feminine in “black american culture” I imagine it would occur at the periphery rather than in the center. Alternative bands and MC’s, not centrally steeped in the dominant culture of hip hop, could possibly sport the sparkle sport look you portend. Tiny backpacks, big glasses and other Kanye accoutrements are one thing, but mainstream gender-bending?

    Naw. But then again, with the prospect of a Black President looming, who’s to say a cross-dressing Kanye isn’t far behind?

  2. Walter Crunkite says:

    See these are the details that I miss — Tricky, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown — I am just plain ignorant about the actual goings on in both hip-hop music and hip-hop fashion. Indeed, a modern jackass.

    What I meant to emphasize with this post was the sensation of seeing this guy in my dream — the glittery lipstick in no way came off as gender-bending; it already felt mainstream, natural, a foregone conclusion. So then I tried to work backwards to see how it might actually happen.

    I agree that it is hard to imagine gender-bending on an everyday basis in “black american culture”, but on the other hand, fashion does seem to be about recycling, and at a certain point in the (distant) future, what is cool now will be laughable — what people wear today will seem to us as silly as the powdered white wigs that men used to wear in Europe.

    So perhaps on that timeline, there’s room for some poppin’ lip gloss.

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