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These HBCU entrepreneurs’ Afrocentric focus continues to change the clothing game

(The Undefeated)
 In 1989, Spike Lee’s movie Do The Right Thing sparked a national conversation about black pride and prejudice. The movie helped spawn trends in hip-hop music, the development of television shows featuring all-black casts, an uptick in attendance at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and fashion apparel featuring black and Afrocentric themes. 

 In the early 1990s, the rising popularity of television shows such as Martin and A Different World mirrored the life of black professionals and students wearing clothes such as dashikis, headscarves and T-shirts with messages like “It’s A Black Thing. You Wouldn’t Understand.” 

 These shows were more than just black entertainment. They gave insight on everyday highs and lows of family, friends, couples and college students during the decade and since. Viewers got more than the message — they saw black empowerment.

As a result, students on HBCU campuses started to pick up on this fashion trend, and some enterprising entrepreneurs launched their businesses to capture a portion of the African-American retail market and a slice of the $100 billion U.S. retail e-commerce pie.
In today’s urban apparel market, entrepreneurs continue to produce clothing and messaging through fashion, trying to inspire black youth and promote a positive movement through their clothing.
For examples of the many startups from HBCU alumni apparel brands, go to The Undefeated.
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