Friday, September 04, 2015

"Fresh Dressed": The simultaneous rise of hip-hop and its associated fashion

Thursday night, CNN aired the 90-minute “Fresh Dressed”, by Sacha Jenkins, a documentary that connects the growth of fashion for African-Americans with the growth of hip-hop music culture.

The fashions may have started on southern cotton plantations but would move to the South Bronx in the 70s, and eventually to fashion corporate suites.  “Being fresh is more important than having money.”

One early scene that caught my own attention was the playing of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally … Oh Baby”.  I can recall summers in the mid 1950s in Ohio, sitting in the living room floor of my aunt’s house, with a cousin (girl) and other kids (boy who played Little League) that my aunt was raising, playing board games (which we invented, making cardboard baseball stadiums – and we were pretty ingenious in making our own toys in the days before electronics) – with Little Richard playing on the radio. The other kids loved it.  We also listened to Elvis Presley, who would eventually get drafted.

Toward the end, the film gets into how LGBT black youth would figure into influencing hip-hop fashion.

There is an odd moment where the film shows an IRT subway car, with graffiti, in the elevated section of the Bronx, and plays Wagner (“The Ring”) as if to mock hip-hop.

Discos often play hip-hop or related acid rock, with extreme dissonance, little melody, and unstable rhythms.  But people on dance floors are more likely to become intimate with rock music from the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

The official site is here  (Samuel Goldwyn).


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